ADMA regulates angiogenesis: Genetic and metabolic evidence

V. Achan, H. K. Ho, C. Heeschen, M. Stuehlinger, J. J. Jang, M. Kimoto, P. Vallance, John P. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role in transducing the effects of angiogenic factors. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an endogenous inhibitor of NO synthase (NOS). We used a murine model of hindlimb ischemia to investigate whether genetic or metabolic changes in ADMA levels could impair angiogenic response in vivo. Hindlimb ischemia was surgically induced in C57BL/6J mice, apo E-deficient mice, or transgenic mice overexpressing dimethyl-arginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH). Some animals were also treated with the NOS antagonist L-nitro-arginine, or the NO precursor L-arginine. Angiogenesis was quantified in the hindlimb skeletal muscle by capillary/myocyte ratio. Plasma or tissue ADMA levels were measured by HPLC. In normal mice, hindlimb ischemia increased tissue ADMA twofold, and reduced DDAH and NOS expression. This was associated with a reduced NOS activity (by over 80%) three days following surgery. On day seven, a threefold increase in DDAH expression and a fall in tissue ADMA levels were associated with a sevenfold increase in NOS activity, whereas NOS expression did not increase above baseline. In DDAH transgenic mice, the elevation of ADMA and decrement in NOS activity was blunted during hindlimb ischemia. Plasma ADMA levels were increased in apo E-mice (1.79 ± 0.45 versus 1.07 ± 0.08 μmol/l; p = 0.008). Capillary index was significantly reduced in apo E-mice up to seven weeks after surgery (0.25 ± 0.05 versus 0.62 ± 0.08; p < 0.001). The effect of hypercholesterolemia on capillary index was reversed by L-arginine, and (in wild-type mice) mimicked by administration of the NOS antagonist L-nitro-arginine. In conclusion, metabolic or genetic changes in plasma and tissue ADMA levels affect tissue NO production and angiogenic response to ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalVascular Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase
  • Endothelium
  • Ischemia
  • Nitric oxide
  • Peripheral arterial disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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