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J Clin Invest. 2001 Sep;108(5):717-24.

Vascular endothelial dysfunction resulting from L-arginine deficiency in a patient with lysinuric protein intolerance.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Molecular Science, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.


Although L-arginine is the only substrate for nitric oxide (NO) production, no studies have yet been reported on the effect of an L-arginine deficiency on vascular function in humans. Lysinuric protein intolerance (LPI) is a rare autosomal recessive defect of dibasic amino acid transport caused by mutations in the SLC7A7 gene, resulting in an L-arginine deficiency. Vascular endothelial function was examined in an LPI patient who was shown to be a compound heterozygote for two mutations in the gene (5.3-kbp Alu-mediated deletion, IVS3+1G-->A). The lumen diameter of the brachial artery was measured in this patient and in healthy controls at rest, during reactive hyperemia (endothelium-dependent vasodilation [EDV]), and after sublingual nitroglycerin administration (endothelium-independent vasodilation [EIV]) using ultrasonography. Both EDV and NO(x) concentrations were markedly reduced in the patient compared with those for the controls. They became normal after an L-arginine infusion. EIV was not significantly different between the patient and controls. Positron emission tomography of the heart and a treadmill test revealed ischemic changes in the patient, which were improved by the L-arginine infusion. Thus, in the LPI patient, L-arginine deficiency caused vascular endothelial dysfunction via a decrease in NO production.

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