Author(s): Dayal S, Lentz SR
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Abstract Hyperhomocysteinemia is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Like many other cardiovascular risk factors, hyperhomocysteinemia produces endothelial dysfunction due to impaired bioavailability of endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO). The molecular mechanisms responsible for decreased NO bioavailability in hyperhomocysteinemia are incompletely understood, but emerging evidence suggests that asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of NO synthase, may be a key mediator. Homocysteine is produced during the synthesis of ADMA and can alter ADMA metabolism by inhibiting dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH). Several animal and clinical studies have demonstrated a strong association between plasma total homocysteine, plasma ADMA, and endothelial dysfunction. These observations suggest a model in which elevation of ADMA may be a unifying mechanism for endothelial dysfunction during hyperhomocysteinemia. The recent development of transgenic mice with altered ADMA metabolism should provide further mechanistic insights into the role of ADMA in hyperhomocysteinemia.
This article was published in Vasc Med
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research