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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2001 Feb;280(2):H859-67.

Increased L-arginine uptake and inducible nitric oxide synthase activity in aortas of rats with heart failure.

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1
Cardiology Research Laboratory, Departments of Medicine, Pharmacology, and Toxicology, London Health Sciences Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 4G5.

Abstract

L-Arginine crosses the cell membrane primarily through the system y(+) transporter. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of L-arginine transport in nitric oxide (NO) production in aortas of rats with heart failure induced by myocardial infarction. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels in aortas of rats with heart failure were six times higher than in sham rats (P < 0.01). L-Arginine uptake was increased in aortas of rats with heart failure compared with sham rats (P < 0.01). Cationic amino acid transporter-2B and inducible (i) nitric oxide synthase (NOS) expression were increased in aortas of rats with heart failure compared with sham rats (P < 0.05). Aortic strips from rats with heart failure treated with L-arginine but not D-arginine increased NO production (P < 0.05). The effect of L-arginine on NO production was blocked by L-lysine, a basic amino acid that shares the same system y(+) transporter with L-arginine, and by the NOS inhibitor N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME). Treatment with L-lysine and L-NAME in vivo decreased plasma nitrate and nitrite levels in rats with heart failure (P < 0.05). Our data demonstrate that NO production is dependent on iNOS activity and L-arginine uptake and suggest that L-arginine transport plays an important role in enhanced NO production in heart failure.

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