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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Dec 15;172(12):1523-8. Epub 2005 Sep 15.

Increased arginase activity in cystic fibrosis airways.

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Children's Hospital, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.



Airway nitric oxide concentrations are reduced in cystic fibrosis (CF). Arginases compete for L-arginine, the substrate of nitric oxide synthesis.


We hypothesized that increased arginase activity may be one factor contributing to nitric oxide deficiency in CF.


We therefore studied sputum arginase activity, exhaled nitric oxide, and pulmonary function in patients with cystic fibrosis.


Mean (+/- SEM) sputum arginase activity was significantly higher in patients admitted for pulmonary exacerbation compared with patients with stable disease (1.032 +/- 0.148 vs. 0.370 +/- 0.091 U/mg protein, p = 0.004). Fourteen days of intravenous antibiotic treatment resulted in significantly decreased sputum arginase activity in all patients (p = 0.0002). However, arginase activity was still significantly (p = 0.0001) higher in CF sputum after treatment for exacerbation compared with induced sputum from healthy control subjects (0.026 +/- 0.006 U/mg protein). Negative correlations were found for sputum arginase activity at admission with FEV1 (r = -0.41, p = 0.01), as well as changes in arginase activity with percent change in FEV1 during antibiotic therapy (r = -0.4, p < 0.01) in CF. Exhaled nitric oxide in CF was positively correlated to FEV1 (r = 0.34, p = 0.007), and in patients admitted for pulmonary exacerbation negatively correlated to sputum arginase activity (r = -0.45, p = 0.03).


These data suggest that increased sputum arginase activity contributes to nitric oxide deficiency in CF lung disease and may be relevant in the pathogenesis of CF airway disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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