1. The metabolic fate of high dietary intakes of nicotinamide, nicotinic acid and tryptophan, and of acute doses of nicotinamide and nicotinic acid, has been studied in the rat. A new high-pressure liquid chromatography method for measurement of the principal urinary metabolites of niacin is described.
2. Administration to rats of a single oral dose of nicotinamide or nicotinic acid (up to 100 mg/kg body-weight), or maintenance for 3 weeks on diets providing 150 mg nicotinamide or nicotinic acid/kg diet, resulted in only a small increase in the liver content of nicotinamide nucleotide coenzymes (NAD and NADP). The quantitative metabolism of nicotinamide and nicotinic acid differed, suggesting that intestinal bacterial deamidation is not the major fate of nicotinamide.
3. A high dietary intake of tryptophan (5.9 g/kg diet) led to a considerable increase in liver NAD(P) and also in urinary excretion of niacin metabolites. The results suggest that, as indicated by enzyme kinetic studies (Bender et al. 1982), the utilization of nicotinamide and nicotinic acid for nucleotide synthesis is limited, while there is little or no limitation of NAD(P) synthesis from the tryptophan metabolite quinolinic acid.