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Nitric Oxide. 2006 Dec;15(4):408-16. Epub 2006 Apr 26.

Arginine metabolic pathways determine its therapeutic benefit in experimental heatstroke: role of Th1/Th2 cytokine balance.

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Immunology and Hyperthermia Section, Radiation Biology and Health Sciences Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai 400 085, India.


We have demonstrated that therapeutic administration of L-arginine (L-arg) (120 mg/kg) at +2 h of whole body hyperthermia (WBH) could rescue the mice from heatstroke-induced death. Studies were undertaken to elucidate the role of L-arg in the immunomodulation of the heat-stressed mice. Administration of L-arginine (L-arg), (120 mg/kg, i.p.), at +2 h of WBH, rescued the mice from heat-induced death and reduced the hypothermia. At +4 and +24 h of WBH, levels of IL-1beta, IFN-gamma, nitrite, TNF-alpha, IL-4, TGF-beta1, inducible form of nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and corticosterone significantly increased compared to the sham group. The elevated levels of Th(1) cytokines, namely TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IFN-gamma, nitrite, and iNOS, decreased significantly both at +4 and +24 h of WBH, following L-arg administration. However, L-arg administration did not reduce the increased levels of Th(2) cytokines, namely IL-4 and TGF-beta1, in WBH mice at +4 h of WBH. L-arg administration significantly increased the levels of Th(2) cytokines at +24 h of WBH, compared to the saline-treated WBH mice. L-arg administration significantly increased both the splenic and hepatic arginase activity at +4 and +24 h of WBH compared to the saline-treated WBH mice. L-NAME treatment at +2 h of WBH and anti-TGF-beta antibody treatment at 0 h of WBH significantly increased the mortality compared to the saline-treated WBH mice. Altered liver histopathology was attenuated following the administration of L-arg at +2 h of WBH. These results suggest that therapeutic administration of L-arg at appropriate concentration and time attenuates the acute inflammatory response, leading to the rescue of mice from heatstroke.

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