1. Studies were performed to investigate the metabolic fate of dipeptides when administered intravenously in rats. Glycyl-leucine, glycylglycine or glycylsarcosine was injected into the jugular vein. The plasma disappearance rate after the peak plasma concentrations was most rapid for glycyl-leucine and least rapid for glycylsarcosine.
2. During urine collection for 40 min, trace amounts of glycyl-leucine and glycylglycine and 13% of the injected glycylsarcosine were excreted.
3. Neither glycylglycine nor glycyl-leucine was detected in the liver, muscle, intestinal mucosa or renal cortex, but concentrations of glycine or leucine, or both, in these tissues were increased after each injection. In contrast, glycylsarcosine was recovered in all these tissues with concentrations in the renal cortex being far greater than in any other tissue, but sarcosine was found only in the renal cortex and intestinal mucosa.
4. The changes in plasma concentrations of free amino acids, glucose and glucagon, and tissue concentrations of free amino acids, were similar after the intravenous administration of glycyl-leucine and an equimolar mixture of free glycine and leucine. However, the amount of insulin secreted during the 40 min after glycyl-leucine injection was 1·6 times that produced after the injection of the corresponding amino acid mixture.
5. Results show that, within the present experimental conditions, the intravenous administration of dipeptides is as effective as that of the corresponding free amino acids in enriching the tissue pools of amino acids. It is suggested that efficient hydrolysis by cellular enzymes prohibits accumulation of intact dipeptides in body tissues.