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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

L-arginine may mediate the therapeutic effects of low protein diets.

We have previously shown beneficial effects of dietary protein restriction on transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) expression and glomerular matrix accumulation in experimental glomerulonephritis. We hypothesized that these effects result from restriction of dietary L-arginine intake. Arginine is a precursor for three pathways, the products of which are involved in tissue injury and repair: nitric oxide, an effector molecule in inflammatory and immunological tissue injury; polyamines, which are required for DNA synthesis and cell growth; and proline, which is required for collagen production. Rats were fed six isocaloric diets differing in L-arginine and/or total protein content, starting immediately after induction of glomerulonephritis by injection of an antibody reactive to glomerular mesangial cells. Mesangial cell lysis and monocyte/macrophage infiltration did not differ with diet. However, restriction of dietary L-arginine intake, even when total protein intake was normal, resulted in decreased proteinuria, decreased expression of TGF-beta 1 mRNA and TGF-beta 1 protein, and decreased production and deposition of matrix components. L-Arginine, but not D-arginine, supplementation to low protein diets reversed these effects. These results implicate arginine as a key component in the beneficial effects of low protein diet.[1]


  1. L-arginine may mediate the therapeutic effects of low protein diets. Narita, I., Border, W.A., Ketteler, M., Ruoslahti, E., Noble, N.A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1995) [Pubmed]
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