L-arginine reduces heart collagen accumulation in the diabetic db/db mouse.
BACKGROUND Diabetic cardiomyopathy presents with significant collagen accumulation; decreased solubility, increased glucose-mediated abnormal cross-linking, free radical cross-linking, or glucose-induced increased transcription of collagen is incriminated. In a previous study, we reduced collagen accumulation in the kidneys of diabetic mice by treatment with oral arginine. This observation led us to examine the effect of arginine on cardial fibrosis.
METHODS AND RESULTS Twenty-nine db/db spontaneously diabetic mice were used in the experiments. Sixteen were given L-arginine (free base, in tap water, 50 mg/kg body wt per day) for 4 months. At the end of the experiment, we determined total collagen content of total ventricular tissue, acid solubility, carboxymethyllysine, O-tyrosine, glutathione, blood glucose, and fructosamine as parameters for glycemic control. Heart collagen level was significantly (P = .0001) reduced in the experimental group (mean, 0.24 +/- 0.05) compared with the control group (mean, 0.49 +/- 0.10 mumol hydroxyproline per 100 mg heart tissue). Significantly more collagen could be eluted from heart samples of the experimental group (P = .02). Carboxymethyllysine and O-tyrosine did not differ when related to heart weight. Glutathione level was significantly higher in the untreated group (P = .003). Parameters of glycemic control did not differ between the groups.
CONCLUSIONS Our findings clearly indicate that L-arginine reduced total heart collagen and increased acid solubility of heart collagen. Both findings are compatible with the cross-linking hypothesis. The data for carboxymethyllysine, O-tyrosine, and glutathione would rule out the glycoxidation hypothesis and, therefore, free radical cross-linking. The postulated mechanism of action is most likely the blocking of reactive carbonyl functions by L-arginine in analogy to aminoguanidine activity. Correlations of collagen with glycemic control, however, point to an association of glucose with collagen metabolism, a phenomenon documented in cell cultures at the transcriptional level.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association