gms | German Medical Science

27. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga

Deutsche Liga zur Bekämpfung des hohen Blutdrucks – Deutsche Hypertonie Gesellschaft e. V.

26. bis 29.11.2003, Bonn

Reduced L-arginine uptake in hypertensive and geneticallly predisposed normotensive subjects

Verminderte L-Arginine Aufnahme bei Hypertonikern und genetisch prädisponierten Normotonikern

Meeting Abstract (Hypertonie 2003)

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  • presenting/speaker M.P. Schlaich - Erlangen, D; Melbourne, AUS
  • B. Ahlers - Erlangen, D; Melbourne, AUS
  • D. Kaye - Erlangen, D; Melbourne, AUS

Hypertonie 2003. 27. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga. Bonn, 26.-29.11.2003. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc03hochP93

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: November 11, 2004

© 2004 Schlaich et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Impaired endothelium dependent NO mediated vasodilation is a cardinal feature of essential hypertension and may precede the increase in blood pressure. We sought to determine whether transport of the NO precursor L-arginine is related to decreased endothelial function and to the development of essential hypertension.


Using a complementary approach we assessed L-arginine uptake in the forearm during a steady-state intra-arterial infusion of [3H] L-arginine and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from hypertensive subjects (EH; n=8) and two groups of healthy volunteers with (PFH; n=10) and without (NFH; n=10) a family history of hypertension. Forearm blood flow response to acetylcholine and sodium-nitroprusside was measured by plethysmography both before and after supplemental intraarterial infusion of L-arginine (10mmol/min)..


In vivo and in vitro L-arginine transport was substantially reduced in EH and PFH compared to NFH (p<0.01 for both). Forearm blood flow response to acetylcholine was reduced in EH and PFH compared to NFH (mean ± SEM: 10.6 ± 0.75 vs 10.3 ± 1.32 vs 15.6 ± 1.06 ml/min/100ml, respectively; p<0.05). The response to sodium-nitroprusside was similar in all groups. L-arginine supplementation improved the response to acetylcholine only in subjects with EH and PFH (p<0.05, for both).


For the first time we demonstrate that similar to their hypertensive counterparts, normotensive individuals at high risk for the development of hypertension are characterized by impaired L-arginine transport and endothelial function. Reduced L-arginine transport may represent the link between a defective L-arginine-nitric oxide pathway and the onset of essential hypertension.