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Atherosclerosis. 2009 May;204(1):282-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.08.018. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine, L-arginine and left ventricular structure and function in a community-based sample.

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  • 1Framingham Heart Study, Boston University School of Medicine, Framingham, MA 01702-5803, USA.



Increasing evidence indicates that cardiac structure and function are modulated by the nitric oxide (NO) system. Elevated plasma concentrations of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA; a competitive inhibitor of NO synthase) have been reported in patients with end-stage renal disease. It is unclear if circulating ADMA and L-arginine levels are related to cardiac structure and function in the general population.


We related plasma ADMA and L-arginine (the amino acid precursor of NO) to echocardiographic left ventricular (LV) mass, left atrial (LA) size and fractional shortening (FS) using multivariable linear regression analyses in 1919 Framingham Offspring Study participants (mean age 57 years, 58% women).


Overall, neither ADMA or L-arginine, nor their ratio was associated with LV mass, LA size and FS in multivariable models (p>0.10 for all). However, we observed effect modification by obesity of the relations of ADMA and LA size (p for interaction p=0.04): ADMA was positively related to LA size in obese individuals (adjusted-p=0.0004 for trend across ADMA quartiles) but not in non-obese people.


In our large community-based sample, plasma ADMA and l-arginine concentrations were not related to cardiac structure or function. The observation of positive relations of LA size and ADMA in obese individuals warrants confirmation.

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