Asparagine is a non-essential protein amino acid that is present in many fruits and vegetables including asparagus, from which it gets its name. Other dietary sources include meat, potatoes, eggs, nuts, and dairy. It can also be formed from aspartic acid and glutamine using the enzyme asparagine synthetase.
In addition to being a structural component of many proteins, asparagine is also useful to the urea cycle. It acts as a nontoxic carrier of residual ammonia to be eliminated from the body. Asparagine is rapidly converted to aspartic acid by the enzyme asparaginase. Interestingly, L-asparaginase has been successfully used as a chemotherapeutic agent for decades.
It causes extracellular depletion of asparagine which seems to play a critical role in cellular adaptations to glutamine and apoptosis.
- Medicine Io. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2005.
- Garg U, Smith LD. Biomarkers Inborn Errors of Metabolism: Clinical Aspects and Laboratory Determination. Elsevier; 2017.
- Lea PJ, Sodek L, Parry MA, Shewry PR, Halford NG. Asparagine in plants. Ann Applied Biol. 2007;150(1):1-26.
- Chiu M, Taurino G, Bianchi MG, Kilberg MS, Bussolati O. Asparagine Synthetase in Cancer: Beyond Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Front Oncol. 2019;9:1480.
- Zhang J, Fan J, Venneti S, et al. Asparagine plays a critical role in regulating cellular adaptation to glutamine depletion. Molec Cell. 2014;56(2):205-218.
- Heitink-Polle KMJ, Prinsen BHCMT, de Koning TJ, van Hasselt PM, Bierings MB. High incidence of symptomatic hyperammonemia in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia receiving pegylated asparaginase. JIMD Repo. 2013;7:103-108.
- Ruzzo EK, Capo-Chichi JM, Ben-Zeev B, et al. Deficiency of asparagine synthetase causes congenital microcephaly and a progressive form of encephalopathy. Neuron. 2013;80(2):429-441.
Overall low amino acids from poor dietary intake or GI malabsorption/maldigestion may result in low levels of arginine. Low levels of its precursors (aspartic acid and glutamine), or enzymatic dysfunction in arginine synthetase can also result in low asparagine levels.
Upregulation of asparaginase may contribute to lower levels of asparagine and rarely can be associated with hyperammonemia.
Depleted levels of arginine due to genetic mutations in asparagine synthetase are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.
High dietary protein intake can elevate asparagine levels. Asparagine may also be elevated in hyperammonemia to serve as a reservoir for waste nitrogen.
What is Hyperammonemia?
Hyperammonemia is a condition that happens when you have high levels of ammonia in your blood. It can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical treatment. Hyperammonemia has several causes. The two most common causes are liver disease and urea cycle disorders.
Own it for life
Our exclusive data entry service is a convenient way to get your results into your private dashboard. Simply attach an image or a file of your lab test results, and one of our qualified data entry team members will add the results for you. We support all sorts of files, whether PDFs, JPGs, or Excel. This service is excellent whether you have a lot of reports to upload or are too busy to do the data entry yourself.
We strive to make the data entry process easy for you. Whether by offering dozens of templates to choose from that pre-populate the most popular laboratory panels or by giving you instant feedback on the entered values. Our data entry forms are an easy, fast, and convenient way to enter the reports yourself. There is no limit on how many lab reports you can upload.
billed every month
Data entry included
$6.60/month billed annually
Data entry included
own it for life
Are You a Health Professional?
Get started with our professional plan
Welcome to Healthmatters Pro.
Save time on interpreting lab results with the largest database of biomarkers online. In-depth research on any test at your fingertips, all stored and tracked in one place. Learn more
Pro Monthly Plus
for health professionals
$75 per month