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Giugliano D, Marfella R, Verrazzo G, et al.,

L-arginine for testing endothelium-dependent vascular functions in health and disease

The objective of this study was to assess the role of L-arginine, the natural precursor of nitric oxide, for testing endothelial function in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. In an initial study of 20 healthy subjects, mean blood pressure decreases in response to increasing doses of L-arginine (1, 2, 3, and 5 g) were 1.1 +/- 1.3, 2.6 +/- 1.5, 7.6 +/- 1.3, and 7.7 +/- 2 mmHg, respectively, P < 0.01. The enantiomer D-arginine (3 g) did not produce any change in mean blood pressure and platelet aggregation (n = 10), whereas the infusion of the L-arginine analog NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (6 mg/min) reduced by 70% the vascular effects of L-arginine. In the whole population of 52 healthy subjects, there was an inverse correlation between age and blood pressure or platelet aggregation changes after L-arginine. Compared with matched controls (n = 20), the changes in mean blood pressure and platelet aggregation after L-arginine were significantly lower in non-insulin-dependent diabetic (n = 20) and hypercholesterolemic (n = 16), but not in hypertensive (n = 20), subjects. Changes in blood viscosity were significantly lower only in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Our findings suggest that an intravenous bolus of 3 g L-argininemay be a simple and useful tool to assess the endothelial control of blood pressure and platelet activity in health and disease.

 

Giugliano D, Marfella R, Verrazzo G, et al. L-arginine for testing endothelium-dependent vascular functions in health and disease. Am J Physiol 1997;273:E606-E612.