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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1996 Feb 15;219(2):598-603.

Elevated L-arginine/dimethylarginine ratio contributes to enhanced systemic NO production by dietary L-arginine in hypercholesterolemic rabbits.

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Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


Dietary supplementation of L-arginine, the precursor of endogenous NO, has been shown to enhance endothelial function in the cholesterol-fed rabbits. However, the mechanism by which dietary L-arginine accomplishes these effects has been unclear. In the present study we have assessed the plasma concentrations of L-arginine and of asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), a known endogenous inhibitor of NO synthase, in cholesterol-fed rabbits with or without dietary supplementation of L-arginine. Urinary nitrate excretion rates were assessed as an index of endogenous NO formation. Plasma L-arginine levels were not different between control and cholesterol-fed rabbits, but they were elevated nearly threefold in rabbits fed cholesterol + L-arginine. Plasma ADMA concentration increased about two-fold in hypercholesterolemia, but was unaffected by dietary L-arginine. Thus, dietary L-arginine elevated the plasma L-arginine/ADMA ratio above the normal level, and partly restored urinary nitrate excretion, which was decreased by hypercholesterolemia. We conclude that elevation of the L-arginine/ADMA ratio may at least partly explain the restored NO formation by exogenous L-arginine in hypercholesterolemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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