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ORIGINAL ARTICLEHomoarginine Associates with Zonulin and Tryptophan - Findings in a High-Risk Cohort of Patients Carrying an AICD by Elli Mann, Robert Kluesener, Felix Boschann, Jana Ruppert, Franz P. Armbruster, Andreas Meinitzer, Christoph Melzer, Thomas B. Dschietzig

Background: Homoarginine (hArg) is known to have an impact on nitric oxide (NO) metabolism. It seems to increase NO generation and/or availability, thereby enhancing endothelial function. In addition, hArg is connected to energy metabolism since the key enzyme, L-arginine-glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT) for hArg synthesis in the kidneys, is also involved in the synthesis of energy metabolites like guanidinoacetate. Former studies indicate that low levels of hArg are linked to cardiovascular disease and increased all-cause mortality.
Methods: This study investigated the dependence of plasma hArg on various biochemical and clinical factors in 229 patients carrying an automatic, implantable cardioverter/defibrillator (AICD) using multiple linear regression analysis (Generalized Linear Model, GLM).
Results: GLM revealed a highly significant, positive association between hArg and zonulin (p < 0.001). hArg was also positively correlated with tryptophan (p = 0.004), BMI (p = 0.02), and body weight (p = 0.02). Patients with hsCRP above 10 mg/L had significantly lower hArg concentrations than patients with hsCRP ≤ 10 mg/L.
Conclusions: The highly significant positive association of hArg with zonulin is a novel finding which may indicate a different meaning of circulating versus local (gut) zonulin. Therefore, further experimental and clinical investigation is needed to explore this association, focusing on possible pathophysiological pathways and the role of circulating zonulin levels in cardiovascular disease. The positive correlation of hArg and Trp also deserves further research because both amino acids might have a protective effect on cardiovascular disease by inhibition of the enzyme alkaline phosphatase. Eventually, our study associates low hArg concentrations with chronic low-grade inflammation and parameters of malnutrition in cardiovascular high-risk patients.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2017.170725