Not to be confused with cytosine, cysteine, cystine, or cytisine.
Skeletal formula of cytidine
Ball-and-stick model of the cytidine molecule
IUPAC name
65-46-3 YesY
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image
ChEBI CHEBI:17562 YesY
ChemSpider 5940 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.000.555
KEGG D07769 YesY
MeSH Cytidine
PubChem 6175
Molar mass 243.217
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
YesY verify (what is YesYN ?)
Infobox references

Cytidine is a nucleoside molecule that is formed when cytosine is attached to a ribose ring (also known as a ribofuranose) via a β-N1-glycosidic bond. Cytidine is a component of RNA.

If cytosine is attached to a deoxyribose ring, it is known as a deoxycytidine.

Dietary sources of cytidine

Dietary sources of cytidine include foods with high RNA (ribonucleic acid) content,[1] such as organ meats, Brewer's yeast, as well as pyrimidine-rich foods such as beer. During digestion, RNA-rich foods are broken-down into ribosyl pyrimidines (cytidine and uridine), which are absorbed intact.[1] In humans, dietary cytidine is converted into uridine,[2] which is probably the compound behind cytidine's metabolic effects.

Cytidine analogues

There are a variety of cytidine analogues with potentially useful pharmacology. For example, KP-1461 is an anti-HIV agent that works as a viral mutagen,[3] and zebularine exists in E. coli and is being examined for chemotherapy. Low doses of azacitidine and its analog decitabine have shown results against cancer through epigenetic demethylation.[4]

Biological actions

In addition to its role as a pyrimidine component of RNA, cytidine has been found to control neuronal-glial glutamate cycling, with supplementation decreasing midfrontal/cerebral glutamate/glutamine levels.[5] As such, cytidine has generated interest as a potential glutamatergic antidepressant drug.[5]


  1. 1 2 Jonas DA; Elmadfa I; Engel KH; et al. (2001). "Safety considerations of DNA in food". Ann Nutr Metab. 45 (6): 235–54. doi:10.1159/000046734. PMID 11786646.
  2. Wurtman RJ, Regan M, Ulus I, Yu L (Oct 2000). "Effect of oral CDP-choline on plasma choline and uridine levels in humans". Biochem Pharmacol. 60 (7): 989–92. doi:10.1016/S0006-2952(00)00436-6. PMID 10974208.
  3. John S. James. "New Kind of Antiretroviral, KP-1461". AIDS Treatment News.
  4. "Scientists reprogram cancer cells with low doses of epigenetic drugs". Medical XPress. March 22, 2012.
  5. 1 2 Machado-Vieira, Rodrigo; Salvadore, Giacomo; DiazGranados, Nancy; Ibrahim, Lobna; Latov, David; Wheeler-Castillo, Cristina; Baumann, Jacqueline; Henter, Ioline D.; Zarate, Carlos A. (2010). "New Therapeutic Targets for Mood Disorders". The Scientific World JOURNAL. 10: 713–726. doi:10.1100/tsw.2010.65. ISSN 1537-744X.
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