Effect of ornithine which is known to inhibit L-arginine uptake via cationic amino acid transport system has been tested, and compared to aminoguanidine, an iNOS inhibitor in lypopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced endotoxemia in rats. Serum nitrite/nitrate and malondialdehyde (MDA) level have been measured, and ileal histology has also been examined. Endotoxin increased serum nitrite/nitrate and MDA levels from 15.7 +/- 2.4,mumol/ml and 2.1 +/- 0.2 nmol/ml to 23.1 +/- 1.0,mumol/ml and 5.2 +/- 0.3 nmol/ml (both P < 0.05), respectively. In addition, LPS caused ileal degenaration. L-ornithine (500 mg/kg) did not improve septic manifestations, i.e., serum nitrite/nitrate and MDA levels did not differ from those in endotoxemia. Neither does it have an improving action on Real histology. However, higher dose of L-ornithine (2,500 mg/kg) lowered the increased level of nitrite/nitrate and MDA by LPS. Moreover, it restored ileal histology from grade 3 (median) to 0 (median) (P < 0.05). On the other hand,. aminoguanidine (100 mg/kg) normalized serum nitrite/nitrate and MDA levels but not ileal histology in endotoxemic rats. In conclusion, high dose of L-ornithine could improve endotoxemic parameters in LPS-treated rats.