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Crit Care Med. 2007 Sep;35(9 Suppl):S557-63.

Exogenous arginine in sepsis.

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Center for Translational Research on Aging & Longevity, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA.


Sepsis is a severe condition in critically ill patients and is considered an arginine deficiency state. The rationale for arginine deficiency in sepsis is mainly based on the reduced arginine levels in sepsis that are associated with the specific changes in arginine metabolism related to endothelial dysfunction, severe catabolism, and worse outcome. Exogenous arginine supplementation in sepsis shows controversial results with only limited data in humans and variable results in animal models of sepsis. Since in these studies the severity of sepsis varies but also the route, timing, and dose of arginine, it is difficult to draw a definitive conclusion for sepsis in general without considering the influence of these factors. Enhanced nitric oxide production in sepsis is related to suggested detrimental effects on hemodynamic instability and enhanced oxidative stress. Potential mechanisms for beneficial effects of exogenous arginine in sepsis include enhanced (protein) metabolism, improved microcirculation and organ function, effects on immune function and antibacterial effects, improved gut function, and an antioxidant role of arginine. We recently performed a study indicating that arginine can be given to septic patients without major effects on hemodynamics, suggesting that more studies can be conducted on the effects of arginine supplementation in septic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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