Short-term treatment with L-arginine prevents the smoking-induced impairment of endothelial function and vascular elastic properties in young individuals.
Siasos G., Tousoulis D., Vlachopoulos C., Antoniades C., Stefanadi E., Ioakeimidis N., Andreou I., Zisimos K., Papavassiliou AG., Stefanadis C.
BACKGROUND: L-arginine, the substrate for endothelial nitric oxide synthase, is essential for normal endothelial function. Aim of the present study was to investigate in healthy smokers the effect of a short-term daily L-arginine administration on vascular function. METHODS: We studied the effect of a 3-day oral administration of L-arginine in 10 healthy smokers (24.3+/-0.73 years old) on 3 occasions (day , day 1 and day 3). The study was carried out on two separate arms, one with L-arginine (7 gr/d) and one with placebo according to a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over design. Measurements were carried out before, immediately after (Sm0) and 20 min after (Sm20) cigarette smoking. Endothelial function was evaluated by flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) was measured as an index of aortic stiffness and augmentation index (AIx) as a measure of arterial wave reflections. RESULTS: Compared to placebo, L-arginine led to an increase of FMD (p<0.05 at day 2), indicating a favorable effect on endothelial function, which however lost significance at day 3. l-arginine induced a progressive decrease of PWV and AIx at both day 2 and day 3 (p<0.01 vs baseline for all). L-arginine blunted the acute smoking-induced increase of AIx at both day 1 (p<0.05) and day 3 (p<0.01), and there was a trend to protect the smoking-induced change of PWV at day 3 (p<0.1). CONCLUSIONS: Short-term daily administration of L-arginine improves arterial performance in healthy smokers and abrogates the smoking-induced increase in arterial stiffness and wave reflections in these individuals.