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1.  Septic shock is correlated with asymmetrical dimethyl arginine levels, which may be influenced by a polymorphism in the dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase II gene: a prospective observational study 
Critical Care  2006;10(5):R139.
Asymmetrical dimethyl arginine (ADMA) is an endogenous non-selective inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase that may influence the severity of organ failure and the occurrence of shock secondary to an infectious insult. Levels may be genetically determined by a promoter polymorphism in a regulatory gene encoding dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase II (DDAH II), which functions by metabolising ADMA to citrulline. The aim of this study was to examine the association between ADMA levels and the severity of organ failure and shock in severe sepsis and also to assess the influence of a promoter polymorphism in DDAH II on ADMA levels.
A prospective observational study was designed, and 47 intensive care unit (ICU) patients with severe sepsis and 10 healthy controls were enrolled. Serum ADMA and IL-6 were assayed on admission to the ICU and seven days later. Allelic variation for a polymorphism at position -449 in the DDAH II gene was assessed in each patient. Clinical and demographic details were also collected.
On day 1 more ADMA was detectable in the ICU group than in the control group (p = 0.005). Levels subsequently increased during the first week in ICU (p = 0.001). ADMA levels were associated with vasopressor requirements on day one (p = 0.001). ADMA levels and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores were directly associated on day one (p = 0.0001) and day seven (p = 0.002). The degree of acidaemia and lactaemia was directly correlated with ADMA levels at both time points (p < 0.01). On day seven, IL-6 was directly correlated with ADMA levels (p = 0.006). The variant allele with G at position -449 in the DDAH II gene was associated with increased ADMA concentrations at both time points (p < 0.05).
Severity of organ failure, inflammation and presence of early shock in severe sepsis are associated with increased ADMA levels. ADMA concentrations may be influenced by a polymorphism in the DDAH II gene.
PMCID: PMC1751072  PMID: 17002794
2.  Evaluation of Asymmetric Dimethylarginine, Arginine, and Carnitine Metabolism in Pediatric Sepsis 
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine  2012;13(4):e210-e218.
Increased plasma concentrations of the endogenous nitric oxide (NO) synthase inhibitor, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), decreased arginine bioavailability, and mitochondrial dysfunction have been reported in adult sepsis. We studied whether ADMA, arginine, and carnitine metabolism (a measure of mitochondrial dysfunction) are altered in pediatric sepsis and whether these are clinically useful biomarkers.
Prospective, observational study
Pediatric intensive care unit at an academic medical center
Ninety patients ≤ 18 years-old—30 with severe sepsis or septic shock compared with thirty age-matched febrile and thirty age-matched healthy controls.
Measurements and Main Results
Plasma ADMA and whole blood arginine, citrulline, ornithine, and acylcarnitine:free carnitine (AC:FC) ratio were measured daily for septic patients and once for controls using tandem mass spectrometry. Plasma ADMA concentration (median, IQR µmol/L) on day 1 was lower in severe sepsis and septic shock (0.38, 0.30–0.56) compared with febrile (0.45, 0.40–0.59) and healthy (0.60, 0.54–0.67) controls (p<0.001), though decreased ADMA was predominantly found in neutropenic patients. Day 1 arginine was lower in septic (10, IQR 7–20 µmol/L) compared with healthy patients (32, IQR 23–40; p<0.001), and the arginine:ornithine ratio was decreased in sepsis, indicating increased arginase activity (an alternative pathway for arginine metabolism). The arginine:ADMA and AC:FC ratios did not differ between septic and control patients. ADMA was inversely correlated with organ dysfunction by PELOD score (r=−0.50, p=0.009), interleukin-6 (r=−0.55, p=0.01), and interleukin-8 (r=−0.52, p=0.03) on admission. Arginine, arginine:ADMA, and AC:FC were not associated with organ dysfunction or outcomes.
ADMA was decreased in pediatric sepsis and was inversely associated with inflammation and organ dysfunction. This suggests that inhibition of NO synthase by ADMA accumulation is unlikely to impact sepsis pathophysiology in septic children despite decreased arginine bioavailability. We did not find an association of ADMA with altered carnitine metabolism, nor were ADMA, arginine, and AC:FC useful as clinical biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3392424  PMID: 22460770
Nitric oxide; nitric oxide synthase; arginine; carnitine; sepsis; intensive care units, pediatric
3.  Sequence Variation in DDAH1 and DDAH2 Genes Is Strongly and Additively Associated with Serum ADMA Concentrations in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9462.
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), present in human serum, is an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase and contributes to vascular disease. Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) is an ADMA degrading enzyme that has two isoforms: DDAHI and DDAHII. We sought to determine whether serum ADMA levels in type 2 diabetes are influenced by common polymorphisms in the DDAH1 and DDAH2 genes.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Relevant clinical parameters were measured and peripheral whole blood obtained for serum and genetic analysis on 343 participants with type 2 diabetes. Serum ADMA concentrations were determined by mass spectroscopy. Twenty six tag SNPs in the DDAH1 and 10 in the DDAH2 gene were genotyped in all subjects and tested for association with serum ADMA levels. Several SNPs and haplotypes in the DDAH genes were strongly associated with ADMA levels. Most significantly in the DDAH1 gene, rs669173 (p = 2.96×10−7), rs7521189 (p = 6.40×10−7), rs2474123 (p = 0.00082) and rs13373844 (p = 0.00027), and in the DDAH2 gene, rs3131383 (p = 0.0029) and the TGCCCAGGAG haplotype (p = 0.0012) were significantly associated with ADMA levels. Sub-analysis by diabetic retinopathy (DR) status revealed these variants were associated with ADMA levels predominantly in participants without DR. Combined analysis of the most strongly associated SNPs in DDAH1 (rs669173) and DDAH2 (rs3131383) revealed an additive effect (p = 1.37×10−8) on ADMA levels.
Genetic variation in the DDAH1 and 2 genes is significantly associated with serum ADMA levels. Further studies are required to determine the pathophysiological significance of elevated serum ADMA in type 2 diabetes and to better understand how DDAH gene variation influences ADMA levels.
PMCID: PMC2830883  PMID: 20209122
4.  A Functional Variant of the Dimethylarginine Dimethylaminohydrolase-2 Gene Is Associated with Insulin Sensitivity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36224.
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an endogenous inhibitor of endothelial nitric oxide synthase, which was associated with insulin resistance. Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) is the major determinant of plasma ADMA. Examining data from the DIAGRAM+ (Diabetes Genetics Replication And Meta-analysis), we identified a variant (rs9267551) in the DDAH2 gene nominally associated with type 2 diabetes (P = 3×10−5).
Methodology/Principal Findings
initially, we assessed the functional impact of rs9267551 in human endothelial cells (HUVECs), observing that the G allele had a lower transcriptional activity resulting in reduced expression of DDAH2 and decreased NO production in primary HUVECs naturally carrying it. We then proceeded to investigate whether this variant is associated with insulin sensitivity in vivo. To this end, two cohorts of nondiabetic subjects of European ancestry were studied. In sample 1 (n = 958) insulin sensitivity was determined by the insulin sensitivity index (ISI), while in sample 2 (n = 527) it was measured with a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. In sample 1, carriers of the GG genotype had lower ISI than carriers of the C allele (67±33 vs.79±44; P = 0.003 after adjusting for age, gender, and BMI). ADMA levels were higher in subjects carrying the GG genotype than in carriers of the C allele (0.68±0.14 vs. 0.57±0.14 µmol/l; P = 0.04). In sample 2, glucose disposal was lower in GG carriers as compared with C carriers (9.3±4.1 vs. 11.0±4.2 mg×Kg−1 free fat mass×min−1; P = 0.009).
A functional polymorphism of the DDAH2 gene may confer increased risk for type 2 diabetes by affecting insulin sensitivity throughout increased ADMA levels.
PMCID: PMC3338696  PMID: 22558392
5.  L-Arginine and Asymmetric Dimethylarginine Are Early Predictors for Survival in Septic Patients with Acute Liver Failure 
Mediators of Inflammation  2012;2012:210454.
Dysfunctions of the L-arginine (L-arg)/nitric-oxide (NO) pathway are suspected to be important for the pathogenesis of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) in septic shock. Therefore plasma concentrations of L-arg and asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) were measured in 60 patients with septic shock, 30 surgical patients and 30 healthy volunteers using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. Plasma samples from patients with septic shock were collected at sepsis onset, and 24 h, 4 d, 7 d, 14 d and 28 d later. Samples from surgical patients were collected prior to surgery, immediately after the end of the surgical procedure as well as 24 h later and from healthy volunteers once. In comparison to healthy volunteers and surgical patients, individuals with septic shock showed significantly increased levels of ADMA, as well as a decrease in the ratio of L-arg and ADMA at all timepoints. In septic patients with an acute liver failure (ALF), plasma levels of ADMA and L-arg were significantly increased in comparison to septic patients with an intact hepatic function. In summary it can be stated, that bioavailability of NO is reduced in septic shock. Moreover, measurements of ADMA and L-arg appear to be early predictors for survival in patients with sepsis-associated ALF.
PMCID: PMC3352626  PMID: 22619480
6.  The association of dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase 1 gene polymorphism with type 2 diabetes: a cohort study 
Elevated plasma levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) has been reported to be associated with insulin resistance and micro/macrovascular diabetic complications, and may predict cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetic patients. Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase 1 (DDAH1) is the major enzyme eliminating ADMA in humans, but the effect of genetic variations in DDAH1 on type 2 diabetes and its long-term outcome are unknown.
From July 2006 to June 2009, we assessed the association between polymorphisms in DDAH1 and type 2 diabetes in 814 consecutive unrelated subjects, including 309 type 2 diabetic patients and 505 non-diabetic individuals. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DDAH1, rs233112, rs1498373, rs1498374, rs587843, rs1403956, and rs1241321 were analyzed. Plasma ADMA levels were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).
Among the 6 SNPs, only rs1241321 was significantly associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes (AA vs GG+AG, OR = 0.64, 95% CI 0.47-0.86, p = 0.004). The association remained unchanged after adjustment for plasma ADMA level. The fasting plasma glucose and log HOMA-IR tended to be lower in subjects carrying the homozygous AA genotype of rs1241321 compared with the GG+AG genotypes. Over a median follow-up period of 28.2 months, there were 44 all-cause mortality and 50 major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE, including cardiovascular death, non-fatal myocardial infarction and stroke). Compared with the GG and AG genotypes, the AA genotype of rs1241321 was associated with reduced risk of MACE (HR = 0.31, 95% CI: 0.11-0.90, p = 0.03) and all-cause mortality (HR = 0.18, 95% CI: 0.04-0.80, p = 0.02) only in subgroup with type 2 diabetes. One common haplotype (GGCAGC) was found to be significantly associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes (OR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.46-0.98, p = 0.04).
Our results provide the first evidence that SNP rs1241321 in DDAH1 is associated with type 2 diabetes and its long-term outcome.
PMCID: PMC3050685  PMID: 21303562
7.  Overexpression of Dimethylarginine Dimethylaminohydrolase 1 Attenuates Airway Inflammation in a Mouse Model of Asthma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85148.
Levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, are increased in lung, sputum, exhaled breath condensate and plasma samples from asthma patients. ADMA is metabolized primarily by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase 1 (DDAH1) and DDAH2. We determined the effect of DDAH1 overexpression on development of allergic inflammation in a mouse model of asthma. The expression of DDAH1 and DDAH2 in mouse lungs was determined by RT-quantitative PCR (qPCR). ADMA levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and serum samples were determined by mass spectrometry. Wild type and DDAH1-transgenic mice were intratracheally challenged with PBS or house dust mite (HDM). Airway inflammation was assessed by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) total and differential cell counts. The levels of IgE and IgG1 in BALF and serum samples were determined by ELISA. Gene expression in lungs was determined by RNA-Seq and RT-qPCR. Our data showed that the expression of DDAH1 and DDAH2 was decreased in the lungs of mice following HDM exposure, which correlated with increased ADMA levels in BALF and serum. Transgenic overexpression of DDAH1 resulted in decreased BAL total cell and eosinophil numbers following HDM exposure. Total IgE levels in BALF and serum were decreased in HDM-exposed DDAH1-transgenic mice compared to HDM-exposed wild type mice. RNA-Seq results showed downregulation of genes in the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) signaling pathway in PBS-treated DDAH1-transgenic mice versus PBS-treated wild type mice and downregulation of genes in IL-13/FOXA2 signaling pathway in HDM-treated DDAH1-transgenic mice versus HDM-treated wild type mice. Our findings suggest that decreased expression of DDAH1 and DDAH2 in the lungs may contribute to allergic asthma and overexpression of DDAH1 attenuates allergen-induced airway inflammation through modulation of Th2 responses.
PMCID: PMC3894860  PMID: 24465497
8.  Dysregulated Arginine Metabolism and Importance of Compensatory Dimethylarginine Dimethylaminohydrolase-1 in Pulmonary Hypertension Associated with Advanced Systolic Heart Failure 
To examine the hemodynamic determinants of dysregulated arginine metabolism in patients with acute decompensated heart failure and explore possible mechanism of arginine dysregulation in human heart failure.
Accumulating methylated arginine metabolites and impaired arginine bioavailability have been associated with heart failure, but the underlying pathophysiology remains unclear.
We prospectively determined plasma levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, and global arginine bioavailability ratio [GABR=arginine/(ornithine+citrulline)] by tandem mass spectrometry in subjects with advanced decompensated heart failure in the intensive care unit (“ADHF”, n=68) and with stable chronic heart failure (“CHF”, n=57).
Compared to CHF subjects, plasma ADMA was significantly higher (median[interquartile range]: 1.29 [1.04–1.77] versus 0.87 [0.72–1.05] μM, p<0.0001), and GABR significantly lower (0.90 [0.69–1.22] versus 1.13 [0.92–1.37], p=0.002) in ADHF subjects. Elevated ADMA and diminished GABR were associated with higher systolic pulmonary artery pressure (sPAP) and higher central venous pressure, but not with other clinical or hemodynamic indices. We further observed myocardial levels of dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1 (DDAH-1) were increased in CHF without elevated sPAP (<50mmHg), but diminished with elevated sPAP (≥50mmHg, difference with sPAP<50 mmHg, p=0.02).
Dysregulated arginine metabolism was observed in advanced decompensated heart failure, particularly with pulmonary hypertension and elevated intracardiac filling pressures. Compared to control hearts, we observed higher amounts of ADMA-degradation enzyme DDAH-1 (but similar amounts of ADMA-producing enzyme, PRMT-1) in the human failing myocardium.
PMCID: PMC3565538  PMID: 22440215
Nitric oxide synthase; asymmetric dimethylarginine; heart failure; pulmonary hypertension
9.  Role of the PRMT-DDAH-ADMA axis in the Regulation of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Production 
There is abundant evidence that the endothelium plays a crucial role in the maintenance of vascular tone and structure. One of the major endothelium-derived vasoactive mediators is nitric oxide (NO), formed in healthy vascular endothelium from the amino acid precursor L-arginine. Endothelial dysfunction is increased by various cardiovascular risk factors, metabolic diseases, and systemic or local inflammation. One mechanism that has been implicated in the development of endothelial dysfunction is the presence of elevated levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA). Free ADMA, which is formed during proteolysis, is actively degraded by the intracellular enzyme dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) which catalyzes the conversion of ADMA to citrulline and dimethylamine. It has been estimated that more than 70% of ADMA is metabolized by DDAH1. Decreased DDAH expression/activity is evident in disease states associated with endothelial dysfunction and is believed to be the mechanism responsible for increased methylarginines and subsequent ADMA mediated eNOS impairment. However, recent studies suggest that DDAH may regulate eNOS activity and endothelial function through both ADMA-dependent and independent mechanisms. In this regard, elevated plasma ADMA may serve as a marker of impaired methylarginine metabolism and the pathology previously attributed to elevated ADMA may be manifested, at least in part, through altered activity of the enzymes involved in ADMA regulation, specifically DDAH and PRMT.
PMCID: PMC2767407  PMID: 19682581
10.  Overexpression of Dimethylarginine Dimethylaminohydrolase Protects against Cerebral Vascular Effects of Hyperhomocysteinemia 
Circulation research  2009;106(3):551-558.
Hyperhomocysteinemia is a cardiovascular risk factor that is associated with the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA). Using mice transgenic for overexpression of the ADMA-hydrolyzing enzyme dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1 (DDAH1), we tested the hypothesis that overexpression of DDAH1 protects from adverse structural and functional changes in cerebral arterioles in hyperhomocysteinemia.
Methods and Results
Hyperhomocysteinemia was induced in DDAH1 transgenic (DDAH1 Tg) mice and wild-type littermates using a high methionine/low folate (HM/LF) diet. Plasma total homocysteine was elevated approximately 3-fold in both wild-type and DDAH1 Tg mice fed the HM/LF diet compared with the control diet (P<0.001). Plasma ADMA was approximately 40% lower in DDAH1 Tg mice compared with wild-type mice (P<0.001) irrespective of diet. Compared with the control diet, the HM/LF diet diminished endothelium-dependent dilation to 10 µmol/L acetylcholine in cerebral arterioles of both wild-type (12±2 vs. 29±3%; P<0.001) and DDAH1 Tg (14±3 vs. 28±2%; P<0.001) mice. Responses to 10 µmol/L papaverine, a direct smooth muscle dilator, were impaired with the HM/LF diet in wild-type mice (30±3 vs. 45±5%; P<0.05) but not DDAH1 Tg mice (45±7 vs. 48±6%). DDAH1 Tg mice also were protected from hypertrophy of cerebral arterioles (P<0.05) but not from accelerated carotid artery thrombosis induced by the HM/LF diet.
Overexpression of DDAH1 protects from hyperhomocysteinemia-induced alterations in cerebral arteriolar structure and vascular muscle function.
PMCID: PMC2831416  PMID: 20019334
amino acids; nitric oxide synthase; endothelium; vasodilation; thrombosis
11.  Dimethylarginine Dimethylaminohydrolase1 Is an Organ-Specific Mediator of End Organ Damage in a Murine Model of Hypertension 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48150.
The endogenous nitric oxide synthase inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular and overall mortality. Moreover, elevated ADMA plasma concentrations are associated with the extent of hypertension. However, data from small-sized clinical trials and experimental approaches using murine transgenic models have revealed conflicting results regarding the impact of ADMA and its metabolizing enzyme dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) in the pathogenesis of hypertension.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Therefore, we investigated the role of ADMA and DDAH1 in hypertension-induced end organ damage using the uninephrectomized, deoxycorticosterone actetate salt, and angiotensin II-induced hypertension model in human DDAH1 (hDDAH1) overexpressing and wild-type (WT) mice. ADMA plasma concentrations differed significantly between hDDAH1 and WT mice at baseline, but did not significantly change during the induction of hypertension. hDDAH1 overexpression did not protect against hypertension-induced cardiac fibrosis and hypertrophy. In addition, the hypertension-induced impairment of the endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation of aortic segments ex vivo was not significantly attenuated by hDDAH1 overexpression. However, hDDAH1 mice displayed an attenuated hypertensive inflammatory response in renal tissue, resulting in less hypertensive renal injury.
Our data reveal that hDDAH1 organ-specifically modulates the inflammatory response in this murine model of hypertension. The lack of protection in cardiac and aortic tissues may be due to DDAH1 tissue selectivity and/or the extent of hypertension by the used combined model. However, our study underlines the potency of hDDAH1 overexpression in modulating inflammatory processes as a crucial step in the pathogenesis of hypertension, which needs further experimental and clinical investigation.
PMCID: PMC3482201  PMID: 23110194
12.  Increased Asymmetric Dimethylarginine in Severe Falciparum Malaria: Association with Impaired Nitric Oxide Bioavailability and Fatal Outcome 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(4):e1000868.
Asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), is a predictor of mortality in critical illness. Severe malaria (SM) is associated with decreased NO bioavailability, but the contribution of ADMA to the pathogenesis of impaired NO bioavailability and adverse outcomes in malaria is unknown. In adults with and without falciparum malaria, we tested the hypotheses that plasma ADMA would be: 1) increased in proportion to disease severity, 2) associated with impaired vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability and 3) independently associated with increased mortality. We assessed plasma dimethylarginines, exhaled NO concentrations and endothelial function in 49 patients with SM, 78 with moderately severe malaria (MSM) and 19 healthy controls (HC). Repeat ADMA and endothelial function measurements were performed in patients with SM. Multivariable regression was used to assess the effect of ADMA on mortality and NO bioavailability. Plasma ADMA was increased in SM patients (0.85 µM; 95% CI 0.74–0.96) compared to those with MSM (0.54 µM; 95%CI 0.5–0.56) and HCs (0.64 µM; 95%CI 0.58–0.70; p<0.001). ADMA was an independent predictor of mortality in SM patients with each micromolar elevation increasing the odds of death 18 fold (95% CI 2.0–181; p = 0.01). ADMA was independently associated with decreased exhaled NO (rs = −0.31) and endothelial function (rs = −0.32) in all malaria patients, and with reduced exhaled NO (rs = −0.72) in those with SM. ADMA is increased in SM and associated with decreased vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability. Inhibition of NOS by ADMA may contribute to increased mortality in severe malaria.
Author Summary
Severe falciparum malaria is associated with impaired microvascular perfusion, lung injury and decreased bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO), but the causes of these processes are not fully understood. Asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), a competitive endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), is an independent predictor of mortality in other critical illnesses, and can impair vascular function in chronic disease. ADMA can be produced by both the host and malaria parasites. The major novel findings of this study in malaria are that ADMA is an independent predictor of death in falciparum malaria, and is associated with decreased availability of nitric oxide in at least two organ systems affected by malaria parasites, the lining of blood vessels and the lungs. This study contributes to knowledge of regulation and availability of pulmonary and endothelial NO in critical illness and identifies pathogenic processes which may contribute to death in severe malaria. Therapies which increase the availability of NO or which reduce ADMA levels may have potential for adjunctive therapy of severe malaria.
PMCID: PMC2858698  PMID: 20421938
13.  Plasma Asymmetric Dimethylarginine and Adverse Events in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Referred for Coronary Angiogram 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71675.
Elevated plasma levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) have been reported to be associated with endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, and oxidative stress in multiple cardiovascular diseases. This study aimed to investigate whether ADMA was a predictor of clinical outcomes in atrial fibrillation (AF).
Methods and Results
From 2006-2009, 990 individuals were referred to our institution for coronary angiography. Among these patients, 141 subjects with a diagnosis of AF, including 52 paroxysmal AF (PAF) and 89 non-paroxysmal AF (non-PAF) patients, were identified as the study population. Plasma ADMA levels were measured. An adverse event was defined as the occurrence of ischemic stroke or cardiovascular death. The ADMA levels were higher in AF than non-AF patients (0.50±0.13 versus 0.45±0.07 µmol/L; p<0.001). Besides, non-PAF patients had higher ADMA levels than PAF patients (0.52±0.15 versus 0.48±0.08 µmol/L; p<0.001). During the follow-up of 30.7±14.4 months, 21 patients (14.9%) experienced adverse events, including cardiovascular death in 7 patients and ischemic stroke in 14. ADMA level, CHA2DS2-VASc score, and left atrial diameter were independent predictors of adverse events in the multivariate analysis. At a cutoff-value of 0.55 µmol/L, the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that patients with a high ADMA level had a higher event rate during the follow-up period.
A higher level of ADMA was a risk factor of adverse events in AF patients, which was independent from the CHA2DS2-VASc score. It deserves to further study whether ADMA could potentially refine the clinical risk stratification in AF.
PMCID: PMC3737156  PMID: 23951217
14.  Asymmetric Dimethylarginine, Endothelial Nitric Oxide Bioavailability and Mortality in Sepsis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e17260.
Plasma concentrations of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, are raised in patients with chronic vascular disease, causing increased cardiovascular risk and endothelial dysfunction, but the role of ADMA in acute inflammatory states is less well defined.
Methods and Results
In a prospective longitudinal study in 67 patients with acute sepsis and 31 controls, digital microvascular reactivity was measured by peripheral arterial tonometry and blood was collected at baseline and 2–4 days later. Plasma ADMA and L-arginine concentrations were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. Baseline plasma L-arginine: ADMA ratio was significantly lower in sepsis patients (median [IQR] 63 [45–103]) than in hospital controls (143 [123–166], p<0.0001) and correlated with microvascular reactivity (r = 0.34, R2 = 0.12, p = 0.02). Baseline plasma ADMA was independently associated with 28-day mortality (Odds ratio [95% CI] for death in those in the highest quartile (≥0.66 µmol/L) = 20.8 [2.2–195.0], p = 0.008), and was independently correlated with severity of organ failure. Increase in ADMA over time correlated with increase in organ failure and decrease in microvascular reactivity.
Impaired endothelial and microvascular function due to decreased endothelial NO bioavailability is a potential mechanism linking increased plasma ADMA with organ failure and death in sepsis.
PMCID: PMC3041798  PMID: 21364995
15.  Asymmetric dimethylarginine accumulates in the kidney during ischemia/reperfusion injury 
Kidney International  2013;85(3):570-578.
Ischemia/reperfusion injury is the leading cause of acute tubular necrosis. Nitric oxide has a protective role against ischemia/reperfusion injury; however, the role of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, in ischemia/reperfusion injury remains unclear. ADMA is produced by protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) and is mainly degraded by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH). Here we examined the kinetics of ADMA and PRMT and DDAH expression in the kidneys of ischemia/reperfusion-injured mice. After the injury, DDAH-1 levels were decreased and renal and plasma ADMA values were increased in association with renal dysfunction. Renal ADMA was correlated with 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine, a marker of oxidative stress. An antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine, or a proteasomal inhibitor, MG-132, restored these alterations. Infusion of subpressor dose of ADMA exacerbated renal dysfunction, capillary loss, and tubular necrosis in the kidneys of ischemia/reperfusion-injured wild mice, while damage was attenuated in DDAH transgenic mice. Thus, ischemia/reperfusion injury–induced oxidative stress may reduce DDAH expression and cause ADMA accumulation, which may contribute to capillary loss and tubular necrosis in the kidney.
PMCID: PMC3944656  PMID: 24107853
ADMA; DDAH-1; ischemia/reperfusion injury; oxidative stress; renal capillary loss
16.  Arginine, arginine analogs and nitric oxide production in chronic kidney disease 
Nitric oxide (NO) production is reduced in renal disease, partially due to decreased endothelial NO production. Evidence indicates that NO deficiency contributes to cardiovascular events and progression of kidney damage. Two possible causes of NO deficiency are substrate (l-arginine) limitation and increased levels of circulating endogenous inhibitors of NO synthase (particularly asymmetric dimethylarginine [ADMA]). Decreased l-arginine availability in chronic kidney disease (CKD) is due to perturbed renal biosynthesis of this amino acid. In addition, inhibition of transport of l-arginine into endothelial cells and shunting of l-arginine into other metabolic pathways (e.g. those involving arginase) might also decrease availability. Elevated plasma and tissue levels of ADMA in CKD are functions of both reduced renal excretion and reduced catabolism by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH). The latter might be associated with loss-of-function polymorphisms of a DDAH gene, functional inhibition of the enzyme by oxidative stress in CKD and end-stage renal disease, or both. These findings provide the rationale for novel therapies, including supplementation of dietary l-arginine or its precursor l-citrulline, inhibition of non-NO-producing pathways of l-arginine utilization, or both. Because an increase in ADMA has emerged as a major independent risk factor in end-stage renal disease (and probably also in CKD), lowering ADMA concentration is a major therapeutic goal; interventions that enhance the activity of the ADMA-hydrolyzing enzyme DDAH are under investigation.
PMCID: PMC2756810  PMID: 16932427
arginase; asymmetric dimethylarginine; cardiovascular events; dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase; l-arginine transporters
17.  Arginine and Asymmetric Dimethylarginine in Puromycin Aminonucleoside-Induced Chronic Kidney Disease in the Rat 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;35(1):40-48.
Reduced renal L-arginine (L-Arg) synthesis/transport, induction of arginases and increased endogenous NOS inhibitor, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) will inhibit NO production. This study investigated pathways of L-Arg synthesis/uptake/utilization, ADMA degradation and oxidant/antioxidants in puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN) chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Rats were given low- (LD) or high-dose (HD) PAN and followed for 11 weeks for proteinuria. BP was measured and blood and tissues were harvested and analyzed for abundance of argininosuccinate synthase (ASS) and lyase (ASL), arginase, cationic amino acid transporter (CAT1) and dimethylargininedimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) in kidney, cortex, aorta and liver. Arginase and DDAH activity, plasma L-Arg and ADMA, renal pathology and creatinine clearances were also measured.
PAN caused dose-dependent kidney damage and hypertension and creatinine clearance fell in HD-PAN. Renal ASS fell in HD-PAN, renal cortex and aortic ASL and membrane CAT1 fell in both PAN groups. There was no activation of renal arginase, but aortic arginase increased in LD-PAN. Renal DDAH activity fell moderately in LD-PAN and markedly in HD-PAN where hepatic DDAH activity also fell. Plasma L-Arg was unchanged while ADMA rose moderately and dose-dependently with PAN. There were several indices of oxidative stress which was most prominent in HD-PAN.
Reduction in renal ASS/ASL and loss of renal cortex CAT1 compromises renal L-Arg synthesis and release. Loss of aortic CAT1 impairs L-Arg uptake. Increased plasma ADMA was associated with progressive loss of renal DDAH activity. However, loss of renal clearance and falls in hepatic DDAH activity in HD-PAN did not have additive effects on plasma ADMA.
PMCID: PMC3251243  PMID: 22179117
Argininosuccinate synthase; Argininosuccinate lyase; Arginase; Cationic amino acid transporter, CAT1; Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase, DDAH; Hypertension; Proteinuria; Creatinine clearance; Nitric oxide
18.  Blood content of asymmetric dimethylarginine: new insights into its dysregulation in renal disease 
Background. Plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, is significantly elevated in patients with kidney disease and is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Here, we tested whether human whole blood (WB), as in rodent blood, can accumulate free ADMA and whether this accumulation is a function of disease burden.
Methods. In 16 healthy control subjects (CO), 18 patients with ESRD and 18 matched hypertensive patients with normal renal function (HTN), we compared using high-pressure liquid chromatography baseline plasma and WB supernatant (WBSUP) ADMA and symmetrical dimethylarginine (SDMA) concentrations and accumulation during a 5-h incubation. We measured protein turnover in incubated WBSUP to determine if proteolytic processes drive ADMA accumulation.
Results. Elevated plasma ADMA was confirmed in ESRD and HTN populations while basal WBSUP ADMA was significantly higher in ESRD subjects than controls (P = 0.05 versus CO; P = 0.02 versus HTN). Plasma SDMA followed a similar pattern. Incubation of WBSUP resulted in ADMA release from protein-incorporated stores while SDMA was unaffected. ADMA accumulation in ESRD samples was significantly greater than that in HTN (P = 0.03). CO and HTN men showed significantly greater ADMA accumulation than women (P = 0.01 and P = 0.003, respectively) but no gender difference was observed in the ESRD group (P = 0.26). ADMA accumulation correlated with ex vivo protein turnover (R = 0.76, P < 0.0001).
Conclusions. Human blood is capable of releasing physiologically significant quantities of ADMA via proteolytic pathways. Dysregulated ADMA release from WB reservoirs may contribute to the distinctly high plasma ADMA levels in ESRD populations.
PMCID: PMC2734175  PMID: 18796436
asymmetric dimethylarginine; cardiovascular risk; end-stage renal disease; symmetric dimethylarginine; whole blood
Asymmetric (NG,NG) dimethylarginine (ADMA) is present in plasma and cells. It can inhibit nitric oxide synthase (NOS) that generates nitric oxide (NO) and cationic amino acid transporters (CAT) that supply intracellular NOS with its substrate, L-arginine from the plasma. Therefore, ADMA and its transport mechanisms are strategically placed to regulate endothelial function. This could have considerable clinical impact since endothelial dysfunction has been detected at the origin of hypertension and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in human subjects and may be a harbinger of large vessel disease and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Indeed, plasma levels of ADMA are increased in many studies of patients at risk for, or with overt CKD or CVD. However, the levels of ADMA measured in plasma of about 0.5 μmol · l−1 maybe below those required to inhibit NOS whose substrate, L-arginine, is present in concentrations manifold above the Km for NOS. However, NOS activity may be partially inhibited by cellular ADMA. Therefore, the cellular production of ADMA by protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) and protein hydrolysis, its degradation by NG, NG-dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) and its transmembrane transport by CAT that determines intracellular levels of ADMA may also determine the state of activation of NOS. This is the focus of the review. It is concluded that cellular levels of ADMA can be 5- to 20-fold those in plasma and in a range that could tonically inhibit NOS. The relative importance of PRMT, DDAH and CAT for determining the intracellular NOS substrate: inhibitor ratio (L-arginine:ADMA) may vary according to the pathophysiologic circumstance. An understanding of this important balance requires knowledge of at least these three processes that regulate the intracellular levels of ADMA and arginine.
PMCID: PMC2767414  PMID: 19682580
Nitric oxide synthase (NOS); protein arginine methyl transferase (PRMT); cationic amino acid (CAA); cationic amino acid transporter (CAT); cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease (CKD); hypertension; reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress
20.  Asymmetric dimethylarginine and long-term adverse cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes: relation with the glycemic control 
Cardiovascular Diabetology  2014;13(1):156.
Background and aims
Elevated plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) levels have been observed in patients with insulin resistance and diabetes, and have been reported to predict adverse cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetic patients. However, the relationship between ADMA and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes remained controversial.
Methods and results
We evaluated 270 patients with type 2 diabetes and measured their plasma ADMA and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels by high performance liquid chromatography. The mean age was 67 ± 12 years. The mean plasma ADMA and HbA1c level were 0.46 ± 0.09 μmol/l and 7.8 ± 1.6%, respectively. There was no significant correlation between plasma ADMA level and HbA1c level (r = −0.09, p = 0.13). During the median follow-up period of 5.7 years (inter-quartile range: 5.0 − 7.3 years), major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE, including cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction and stroke) was observed in 55 patients (20.4%). Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that the ADMA tertile was an independent risk factor for MACE (ADMA tertile III versus ADMA tertile I: p = 0.026, HR: 2.31, 95% CI: 1.10 − 4.81). The prognosis predictive power of ADMA disappeared in patients with well glycemic control (HbA1c ≤6.5%), and the ADMA-HbA1c interaction p value was 0.01.
In patients with type 2 diabetes, ADMA might be an independent risk factor for long-term adverse cardiovascular events. However, ADMA was not correlated with serum HbA1c level, and in diabetic patients with HbA1c ≤6.5%, elevated ADMA level was no longer associated with increased risk of long-term prognosis. Our findings suggested that the prognosis predictive value of ADMA in type 2 diabetes might be modified by the glycemic control.
PMCID: PMC4262144  PMID: 25467091
Asymmetric dimethylarginine; Diabetes; Hemoglobin A1c; Nitric oxide
21.  N-Acetylcysteine Prevents Hypertension via Regulation of the ADMA-DDAH Pathway in Young Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:696317.
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) reduces nitric oxide (NO), thus causing hypertension. ADMA is metabolized by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH), which can be inhibited by oxidative stress. N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), an antioxidant, can facilitate glutathione (GSH) synthesis. We aimed to determine whether NAC can prevent hypertension by regulating the ADMA-DDAH pathway in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Rats aged 4 weeks were assigned into 3 groups (n = 8/group): control Wistar Kyoto rats (WKY), SHR, and SHR receiving 2% NAC in drinking water. All rats were sacrificed at 12 weeks of age. SHR had higher blood pressure than WKY, whereas NAC-treated animals did not. SHR had elevated plasma ADMA levels, which was prevented by NAC therapy. SHR had lower renal DDAH activity than WKY, whereas NAC-treated animals did not. Renal superoxide production was higher in SHR than in WKY, whereas NAC therapy prevented it. NAC therapy was also associated with higher GSH-to-oxidized GSH ratio in SHR kidneys. Moreover, NAC reduced oxidative stress damage in SHR. The observed antihypertensive effects of NAC in young SHR might be due to restoration of DDAH activity to reduce ADMA, leading to attenuation of oxidative stress. Our findings highlight the impact of NAC on the development of hypertension by regulating ADMA-DDAH pathway.
PMCID: PMC3877599  PMID: 24455716
22.  Mechanisms of nitric oxide synthase uncoupling in endotoxin-induced acute lung injury: Role of asymmetric dimethylarginine 
Vascular pharmacology  2009;52(5-6):182-190.
Acute lung injury (ALI) is associated with severe alterations in lung structure and function and is characterized by hypoxemia, pulmonary edema, low lung compliance and widespread capillary leakage. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), a known cardiovascular risk factor, has been linked to endothelial dysfunction and the pathogenesis of a number of cardiovascular diseases. However, the role of ADMA in the pathogenesis of ALI is less clear. ADMA is metabolized via hydrolytic degradation to L-citrulline and dimethylamine by the enzyme, dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH). Recent studies suggest that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) markedly increases the level of ADMA and decreases DDAH activity in endothelial cells. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine if alterations in the ADMA/DDAH pathway contribute to the development of ALI initiated by LPS-exposure in mice. Our data demonstrate that LPS exposure significantly increases ADMA levels and this correlates with a decrease in DDAH activity but not protein levels of either DDAH I or DDAH II isoforms. Further, we found that the increase in ADMA levels cause an early decrease in nitric oxide (NOx) and a significant increase in both NO synthase (NOS)-derived superoxide and total nitrated lung proteins. Finally, we found that decreasing peroxynitrite levels with either uric acid or Manganese (III) tetrakis (1-methyl-4-pyridyl) porphyrin (MnTymPyp) significantly attenuated the lung leak associated with LPS-exposure in mice suggesting a key role for protein nitration in the progression of ALI. In conclusion, this is the first study that suggests a role of the ADMA/DDAH pathway during the development of ALI in mice and that ADMA may be a novel therapeutic biomarker to ascertain the risk for development of ALI.
PMCID: PMC2879579  PMID: 19962451
Nitration; Superoxide; Arginine metabolism
23.  Regulation of DDAH1 as a Potential Therapeutic Target for Treating Cardiovascular Diseases 
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an endogenous nitric oxide synthase inhibitor that blocks nitric oxide production, while congestive heart failure is associated with increased plasma and tissue ADMA content. Increased plasma ADMA is a strong and independent predictor of all-cause mortality in the community and the strongest predictor of mortality in patients after myocardial infarction. Recent studies demonstrated that dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1 (DDAH1) is the critical enzyme for ADMA degradation and thereby plays an important role in maintaining cardiovascular nitric oxide bioavailability. Interestingly, activation of the farnesoid X receptor (FXR) through the bile acid ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) or synthetic FXR agonists, such as GW4064, can increase DDAH1 expression. Thus, modulating DDAH1 activity through FXR receptor agonists such as UDCA could be a therapeutic target for treating reduced nitric oxide bioavailability in congestive heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC3710625  PMID: 23878601
24.  Changes in ADMA/DDAH Pathway after Hepatic Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury in Rats: The Role of Bile 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:627434.
We investigated the effects of hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury on asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA, a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor), protein methyltransferase (PRMT) and dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) (involved, resp., in ADMA synthesis and degradation), and the cationic transporter (CAT). Male Wistar rats were subjected to 30 or 60 min hepatic ischemia followed by 60 min reperfusion. ADMA levels in serum and bile were determined. Tissue ADMA, DDAH activity, DDAH-1 and CAT-2 protein, DDAH-1 and PRMT-1 mRNA expression, GSH/GSSG, ROS production, and lipid peroxidation were detected. ADMA was found in bile. I/R increased serum and bile ADMA levels while an intracellular decrease was detected after 60 min ischemia. Decreased DDAH activity, mRNA, and protein expression were observed at the end of reperfusion. No significant difference was observed in GSH/GSSG, ROS, lipid peroxidation, and CAT-2; a decrease in PRMT-1 mRNA expression was found after I/R. Liver is responsible for the biliary excretion of ADMA, as documented here for the first time, and I/R injury is associated with an oxidative stress-independent alteration in DDAH activity. These data are a step forward in the understanding of the pathways that regulate serum, tissue, and biliary levels of ADMA in which DDAH enzyme plays a crucial role.
PMCID: PMC4160639  PMID: 25243167
25.  Asymmetric Dimethylarginine Reference Intervals Determined with Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry: Results from the Framingham Offspring Cohort 
Clinical chemistry  2009;55(8):1539-1545.
Accumulating evidence links higher circulating asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) to greater risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Relatively small differences in ADMA concentrations between healthy individuals and those with disease underscore the need to formulate reference intervals that may aid risk stratification of individuals.
We formulated reference intervals for plasma ADMA concentrations using a community-based reference sample from the Framingham Offspring Study consisting of 1126 nonsmoking individuals [mean (SD) age 56 (9) years; 60% women] who were free of clinical CVD, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity and who attended a routine examination at which ADMA was assayed. ADMA concentrations were determined using a validated tandem mass spectrometry–liquid chromatography assay.
In the study sample, the mean ADMA concentration was 0.52 (0.11) μmol/L, and the reference limits were 0.311 and 0.732 (2.5th and 97.5th percentile). The sex-specific reference limits were 0.310 and 0.745 in men and 0.313 and 0.721 μmol/L in women. In multivariable regression analysis, ADMA plasma concentrations were positively correlated with age and total plasma homocysteine (both P < 0.001).
Reference limits calculated for circulating ADMA in our large community-based healthy reference sample confirm the previous observation of a relatively narrow distribution of concentrations. This suggests a tight physiological control of ADMA plasma concentrations, presumably by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) metabolism of ADMA.
PMCID: PMC3794429  PMID: 19541865

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