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Amino Acids. 2013 Nov;45(5):1089-96. doi: 10.1007/s00726-013-1558-1. Epub 2013 Jul 18.

The role of L-arginine-nitric oxide pathway in bacterial translocation.

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Food Science Post-Graduation Program, Department of Clinical and Toxicological Analyses, Pharmacy School, Federal University of Minas Gerais, P.O. Box 486, Belo Horizonte, MG, 30161-970, Brazil,


This study investigated the nitric oxide (NO) role as a mediator of arginine on bacterial translocation (BT) and gut damage in mice after intestinal obstruction (IO). The effects of pretreatment with arginine with or without NO inhibition on the systemic and local immunological response were also assessed. Mice were categorized into four groups. Group ARG received chow containing 2 % arginine, while group ARG + L-NAME received the same diet plus L-NAME (N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester) by gavage. The IO and Sham groups were fed standard chow. After 7 days, animals were gavaged with radiolabeled Escherichia coli, anesthetized and subjected to IO, except the Sham group. Animals were euthanized after 18 h, and BT was evaluated in the mesenteric lymph nodes, blood, liver, spleen and lungs. In another experiment, the intestinal injury was assessed regarding intestinal permeability and ileum histological analyses. Intestinal secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) levels, serum IFN-γ and IL-10 cytokines were assessed. Arginine reduced BT, but NO inhibition enhanced BT compared with the ARG group (p < 0.05). Intestinal permeability in the ARG and ARG + L-NAME groups was similar but decreased when compared with the IO group (p < 0.05). Histological preservation was observed. Arginine treatment increased IL-10 and sIgA levels when compared with the Sham and IO groups (p < 0.05). The cytokines and sIgA concentrations were similar in the ARG + L-NAME and Sham groups. Arginine appeared to reduce BT and its effects on the modulation of cytokines and secretory IgA in mice after IO are mediated by NO production.

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