Function of L-Ornithine α-Ketoglutarate Monohydrate in Cerebral Hypoxia



L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate, with some synonyms like OKG, OAKG and L-ornithine 2-oxoglutarate monohydrate, is a salt which is formed from two molecules of ornithine and one molecule of α-ketoglutarate. It is usually considered that L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate is a relatively safe drug and so far it has been increasingly used in a variety of clinical applications such as hyperammonaemia, hepatic encephalopathy and so on. What is worth mentioning is that L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate has been developed as a good choice for the therapy of cerebral hypoxia.

Pharmacologic action

It is well recognized that cerebral hypoxia will lead to an increase in brain anaerobic glycolysis accompanied by the formation of resultant lactate, the essence of which is metabolic disturbance. L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate is able to bring about a fall in the consumption of cerebral glucose and a rise in the utilization of brain oxygen during the period of cerebral hypoxia. In other words, L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate has the ability to attenuate the metabolic disturbance caused by cerebral hypoxia.


L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate possesses plenty of clinical applications. For example, L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate can be used as an effective drug for the treatment of cerebral hypoxia on account of the capability of partly reversing the brain metabolic changes of cerebral hypoxia. Meanwhile, L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate is well known to have been used for a long time in Europe for the therapy of hepatic encephalopathy but there are still some problems to be solved in clinical use for fulminant hepatitis. In addition to the above, L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate has also been developed as a dietary supplement, as well as a drug in parenteral nutrition.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

There are some kinds of administration forms available for L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate. For the treatment of cerebral hypoxia, L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate is usually injected into body with intravenous route of administration. For the elderly in long-term malnutrition, L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate is mainly taken orally to improve physical fitness and reduce medical expenses. And then, L-ornithine α-ketoglutarate monohydrate is absorbed by the intestinal cells in the form of oxoglutarate and ornithine, which in turn are converted into glutamine, arginine, proline, and polyamines.


Karsegard V L, Raguso C A, Genton L, et al. L-ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate in HIV infection: effects on muscle, gastrointestinal, and immune functions.[J]. Nutrition, 2004, 20(6):515-520.

Woollard M L, Pearson R M, Dorf G, et al. Controlled trial of ornithine alpha ketoglutarate (OAKG) in patients with stroke.[J]. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 1978, 9(3):218-222.

Hares P, James I M, Pearson R M. Effect of ornithine alpha ketoglutarate (OAKG) on the response of brain metabolism to hypoxia in the dog.[J]. Stroke, 1978, 9(3):222-224.

James I M, Hamlyn A N, Brant P C, et al. Effect of ornithine alpha oxoglutarate on brain metabolism in patients with chronic liver disease.[J]. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 1975, 38(3):214-218.

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