Decreased activity of the L-arginine-nitric oxide metabolic pathway in patients with congestive heart failure.


Katz SD, Khan T, Zeballos GA, Mathew L






BACKGROUND: Impaired endothelium-dependent, nitric oxide (NO)- mediated vasodilation may contribute to increased vasomotor tone in patients with heart failure. Whether decreased endothelium-dependent, NO-mediated vasodilation in patients with heart failure is due to decreased synthesis or increased degradation of NO is unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS: To specifically assess the synthetic activity of the L-arginine-NO metabolic pathway, urinary excretion of [15N]nitrates and [15N]urea was determined after a primed continuous intravenous infusion of L-[15N]arginine (40 micromol/kg) in 16 patients with congestive heart failure and 9 age-matched normal control subjects at rest and during submaximal treadmill exercise. After infusion of L-[15N]arginine, 24-hour urinary excretion of [15N]nitrates was decreased in patients with congestive heart failure at rest (2.2+/-0.5 versus 8.0+/-2.3 micromol/24 h) and during submaximal exercise (2.4+/-1.2 versus 11. 4+/-4.0 micromol/24 h) compared with control subjects (both P<0.01). After infusion of L- [15N]arginine, 24-hour urinary excretions of [15N]urea at rest in patients with congestive heart failure and control subjects were not different (1.1+/-0.3 versus 1.2+/-0.2 mmol/24 h, P>0.20). CONCLUSIONS: A specific decrease in synthetic activity of the L- arginine-NO metabolic pathway contributes to decreased endothelium- dependent vasodilation in patients with congestive heart failure.