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J Clin Invest. 1991 Nov;88(5):1559-67.

L-arginine abrogates salt-sensitive hypertension in Dahl/Rapp rats.

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Nephrology Research and Training Center, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


This study examined the contribution of nitric oxide (NO) to the susceptibility or resistance to the hypertensive effects of high sodium chloride (8.0% NaCl) intake in young Dahl/Rapp salt-sensitive (SS/Jr) and salt-resistant (SR/Jr) rats. Using NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) as a probe for NO production in vivo, we found that increasing dietary sodium chloride increased NO activity in salt-resistant rats, but not in salt-sensitive rats. Exogenous L-arginine, the substrate for NO synthesis, decreased blood pressure to normotensive levels in salt-sensitive rats made hypertensive for 2 wk from 8.0% NaCl chow. D-arginine had no effect on blood pressure of these rats and L-arginine did not change blood pressure of salt-resistant rats. Intraperitoneal injections of L-arginine and its precursor, L-citrulline, and oral L-arginine, but not D-arginine, prevented the increase in blood pressure in salt-sensitive rats on the high salt chow over 2 wk of observation. In contrast, L-arginine did not alter the development of hypertension in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Mean urinary cGMP levels were higher in salt-sensitive rats on oral L-arginine than salt-sensitive rats on D-arginine. Infusion of L-NMMA acutely decreased, whereas intravenous L-arginine rapidly increased, urinary cGMP in both groups. L-arginine and L-citrulline increased production of NO and prevented salt-sensitive hypertension in Dahl/Rapp rats.

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