The role of asymmetric dimethylarginine and arginine in the failing heart and its vasculature


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Abstract

Nitric oxide (NO) is formed from arginine by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) can inhibit NO production by competing with arginine for NOS binding. Therefore, the net amount of NO might be indicated by the arginine/ADMA ratio. In turn, arginine can be metabolized by the enzyme arginase, and ADMA by the enzyme dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH). While ADMA has been implicated as a cardiovascular risk factor, arginine supplementation has been indicated as a treatment in cardiac diseases. This review discusses the roles of ADMA and arginine in the failing heart and its vasculature. Furthermore, it proposes nutritional therapies to improve NO availability.

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