1. Free amino acids were determined in the plasma and in the muscle tissue of 14 patients with chronic uraemia; eight were not on dialysis and six were having regular peritoneal dialysis. The concentration of each amino acid in muscle water was calculated with the chloride method.
2. In both groups of patients there were low intracellular concentrations of threonine, valine, tyrosine and carnosine, and high glycine/valine and phenylalanine/tyrosine ratios. Both groups of patients had increased amounts of 1- and 3-methylhistidine in plasma and in muscle water.
3. The non-dialysed patients had low intracellular concentrations of lysine, and the dialysed patients had high intracellular concentrations of lysine, isoleucine, leucine and of some of the non-essential amino acids.
4. After peritoneal dialysis for 22 h, the plasma concentration of several amino acids decreased but the intracellular concentrations of most amino acids did not change significantly.
5. Intravenous administration of essential amino acids and histidine during the last 4 h of dialysis increased in muscle the total free amino acids, the ratio of essential to non-essential amino acids and the valine and phenylalanine concentrations.
6. The results demonstrated that the plasma and muscle concentrations of several amino acids are grossly abnormal in chronic uraemia. Non-dialysed and dialysed patients exhibit important differences, especially in the intracellular amino acid patterns. Infusion of essential amino acids may result in enhancement of protein synthesis.