Background - Exposure to risk factors such as hypertension or hypercholesterolemia decreases the bioavailability of endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO) and impairs endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Recently, a circulating endogenous NO synthase inhibitor, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), has been detected in human plasma. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between plasma ADMA and atherosclerosis in humans. Methods and Results - Subjects (n = 116; age, 52±1 years; male: female ratio, 100:16) underwent a complete history and physical examination, determination of serum chemistries and ADMA levels, and duplex scanning of the carotid arteries. These individuals had no symptoms of coronary or peripheral artery disease and were taking no medications. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that plasma levels of ADMA were positively correlated with age (P<0.0001), mean arterial pressure (P<0.0001), and Σ glucose (an index of glucose tolerance) (P=0.0006). Most intriguingly, stepwise regression analysis revealed that plasma ADMA levels were significantly correlated to the intima-media thickness of the carotid artery (as measured by high-resolution ultrasonography). Conclusions - This study reveals that plasma ADMA levels are positively correlated with risk factors for atherosclerosis. Furthermore, plasma ADMA level is significantly correlated with carotid intima-media thickness. Our results suggest that this endogenous antagonist of NO synthase may be a marker of atherosclerosis.
- Diabetes mellitus
- Risk factors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine