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J Endocrinol. 2004 Nov;183(2):343-51.

Influence of dietary arginine on the anabolic effects of androgens.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Murcia, Spain.


Feeding mice an arginine-deficient diet decreased plasma concentrations of arginine, citrulline and ornithine in the females and arginine in the males, abolishing the sexual dimorphic pattern of these amino acids found in mice fed the standard diet. In addition, the restriction of dietary arginine produced a marked decrease in body and renal weights as well as in the activity of renal ornithine decarboxylase, decreases that were gender dependent since they were observed exclusively in males. The fact that these changes were not associated with the decrease in the circulating levels of testosterone and that the dietary arginine restriction prevented the body weight gain induced by testosterone treatment of female mice fed the standard diet indicates that dietary arginine is required for the anabolic action of androgens. Moreover, under certain conditions that could compromise the renal synthesis of arginine, as in the compensatory renal hypertrophy that follows unilateral nephrectomy, the myotrophic effect of testosterone was transiently impaired. The results also revealed that arginine deficiency produced an opposite effect in the expression of IGF-I and IGF-binding protein 1 in the liver and kidney. Taken together, our results indicate that dietary arginine may be relevant to the anabolic action of testosterone, and suggest that this effect may be mediated by changes in the insulin-like growth factor system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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