Physiology Institute

Strasbourg, France

Physiology Institute

Strasbourg, France
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Doutreleau S.,Physiology Institute | Rouyer O.,Physiology Institute | Di Marco P.,Physiology Institute | Lonsdorfer E.,Physiology Institute | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Year: 2010

Background: Endothelial dysfunction is associated with the decreased exercise capacity observed in heart-transplant (HTx) recipients. L-Arginine supplementation (LAS) stimulates the nitric oxide (NO) pathway and restores endothelial function. Objective: We compared exercise capacity in healthy subjects and HTx patients and investigated whether chronic LAS might improve exercise capacity and NO/endothelin balance after an HTx. Design: Clinical, echocardiographic, and exercise characteristics were measured in 11 control subjects and 22 HTx recipients. In a prospective, double-blind study, the 22 HTx recipients performed a 6-min exercise [6-min-walk test (6MWT)] and a maximal bicycle exercise test before and after a 6-wk period of placebo intake or LAS. Endothelial function was measured by analyzing blood NO metabolites, endothelin, and the resulting NO/endothelin balance. Results: Exercise capacity decreased after transplantation. Unlike with the placebo intake, 6 wk of LAS improved quality of life in HTx recipients (mean ± SEM Minnesota Score: from 15.3 ± 1.3 to 10.6 ± 1.1; P < 0.001) and their submaximal exercise capacity. The distance walked during the 6MWT increased (from 525 ± 20 to 580 ± 20 m; P = 0.002), and the ventilatory threshold during the incremental test was delayed by 1.2 min (P = 0.01). Central factors such as resting stroke volume, systolic pulmonary arterial pressure, cardiac systolodiastolic functions, and heart-rate reserve were not modified, but LAS significantly increased the NO:endothelin ratio (from 2.49 ± 0.38 to 3.31 ± 0.39; P = 0.03). Conclusion: Oral LAS may be a useful adjuvant therapeutic to improve quality of life and exercise tolerance in HTx recipients. © 2010 American Society for Nutrition.

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