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Free Radic Biol Med. 2006 Dec 15;41(12):1771-80. Epub 2006 Sep 9.

Protective effect of arginine on oxidative stress in transgenic sickle mouse models.

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Department of Medicine, Room U-917, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is characterized by reperfusion injury and chronic oxidative stress. Oxidative stress and hemolysis in SCD result in inactivation of nitric oxide (NO) and depleted arginine levels. We hypothesized that augmenting NO production by arginine supplementation will reduce oxidative stress in SCD. To this end, we measured the effect of arginine (5% in mouse chow) on NO metabolites (NOx), lipid peroxidation (LPO), and selected antioxidants in transgenic sickle mouse models. Untreated transgenic sickle (NY1DD) mice (expressing approximately 75% beta(S)-globin of all beta-globins; mild pathology) and knockout sickle (BERK) mice (expressing exclusively hemoglobin S; severe pathology) showed reduced NOx levels and significant increases in the liver LPO compared with C57BL mice, with BERK mice showing maximal LPO increase in accordance with the disease severity. This was accompanied by reduced activity of antioxidants (glutathione, total superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase). However, GSH levels in BERK were higher than in NY1DD mice, indicating a protective response to greater oxidative stress. Importantly, dietary arginine significantly increased NOx levels, reduced LPO, and increased antioxidants in both sickle mouse models. In contrast, nitro-L-arginine methylester, a potent nonselective NOS inhibitor, worsened the oxidative stress in NY1DD mice. Thus, the attenuating effect of arginine on oxidative stress in SCD mice suggests its potential application in the management of this disease.

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