Ornithines (inci)

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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CAS number: 70-26-8; Ornithine; (S)-2,5-diaminopentanoic acid

General information
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Ornithine (from Greek ornis, Vogel) is a basic, non-proteinogenic α amino acid with the molecular formula C5H12N2O2. L-ornithine is formed in the urea cycle under catalysis of the arginase from L-arginine by water incorporation and release of urea (NH2-CO-NH2).

Within the liver metabolism, L-ornithine plays a central role in detoxification functions via the urea cycle. Furthermore, ornithine is involved in important muscle building processes and in the breakdown of fats. Therefore it plays a role in performance-enhancing diets.

Disturbances in the urea cycle with incorrect breakdown of ornithine (e.g. ornithine transcarbamylase, or OTC deficiency for short) lead to increased ammonia levels in the blood, ammoniacal encephalopathy and, depending on the severity, to the death of the affected person.

Cosmetics: Ornithine (INCI name) is used as an amino acid in cosmetic formulations. The substance is used in skin care products.


Last updated on: 29.10.2020