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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2012 Mar;27(3):899-902. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfr629. Epub 2011 Nov 29.

Asymmetric dimethylarginine may mediate increased heat pain threshold in experimental chronic kidney disease.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Medical School Hannover, Hannover, Germany.



Thermal sensitivity in uraemia is decreased. Non-selective synthetic nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitors significantly attenuate thermal hyperalgesia in preclinical models. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effect of experimental uraemia, which is associated with an increase of the endogenous NOS inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), on thermal sensitivity in rats. Furthermore, we intended to study the effect of chronic ADMA infusion alone on thermal sensitivity.


Male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 54), 10 weeks old, weight 370-430 g, were randomly assigned to three groups receiving either (i) isotonic saline or (ii) ADMA via osmotic mini pumps or (iii) underwent 5/6 nephrectomy (Nx). After 14 days, 50% of all animals from all groups underwent thermal sensitivity testing and terminal blood draw. After 28 days, the remaining animals underwent the same procedures. Thermal sensitivity examination was performed by the hot-plate test, measuring time from heat exposition to first paw licking or jumping of the animal.


While the median [interquartile range] latency time between heat exposition to first paw licking or jumping of the animal in the NaCl infusion group remained unchanged between Day 14 (8.4 [6.75-11.50] s) and Day 28 (7.35 [6.10-7.90] s) both, ADMA infusion and 5/6 nephrectomy tended to increase the thermal pain threshold at Day 14 (9.25 [6.55-12.18] s) and (9.50 [5.8 ± 11.0] s), respectively, compared to NaCl on Day 14 (8.4 [6.75-11.50] s). This difference became statistical significant at Day 28 where the median latency time in the ADMA group (13.10 [11.85-15.95] s) and in the 5/6 Nx group (13.50 [10.85-17.55] s) were significantly higher than in the NaCl group (7.35 [6.10-7.90] s).


Induction of progressive renal failure in rats by 5/6 nephrectomy, which is accompanied by a marked increase of the serum levels of the endogenous NOS inhibitor ADMA, leads to a significantly increased heat pain threshold at 28 days. The sole infusion of ADMA into healthy rats leads to the same increase in heat pain threshold.

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