BACKGROUND: Sepsis is accompanied by an increased need for and a decreased supply of arginine, reflecting a condition of arginine deficiency. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to evaluate the effects of l-arginine pretreatment on arginine-nitric oxide (NO) production and hepatosplanchnic perfusion during subsequent endotoxemia. DESIGN: In a randomized controlled trial, pigs (20-25 kg) received 3 mug . kg(-1) . min(-1) lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 5 endotoxin units/ng) intravenously and saline resuscitation. l-Arginine (n = 8; 5.3 mumol . kg(-1) . min(-1)) or saline (n = 8) was infused starting 12 h before LPS infusion and continued for 24 h after the endotoxin infusion ended. Whole-body appearance rates, portal-drained viscera (PDV), and liver fluxes of arginine, citrulline, NO, and arginine de novo synthesis were measured by using stable-isotope infusion of [(15)N(2)]arginine and [(13)C-(2)H(2)]citrulline. Hepatosplanchnic perfusion was assessed by using a primed continuous infusion of para-aminohippuric acid and jejunal intramucosal partial pressure of carbon dioxide and was related to systemic hemodynamics. RESULTS: Arginine supplementation before LPS increased whole-body NO production in the PDV but not in the liver. Furthermore, it increased blood flow in the portal vein but not in the aorta and hepatic artery. During endotoxin infusion, arginine pretreatment was associated with an increased whole-body arginine appearance and NO production in the gut. Additional effects included a preserved mean arterial pressure, the prevention of an increase in pulmonary arterial pressure, an attenuated metabolic acidosis, and an attenuated increase in the intramucosal partial pressure of carbon dioxide. CONCLUSION: Arginine treatment starting before endotoxemia appears to be beneficial because it improves hepatosplanchnic perfusion and oxygenation during prolonged endotoxemia, probably through an enhancement in NO synthesis, without causing deleterious systemic side effects.
- INTESTINAL ISCHEMIA-REPERFUSION
- SYNTHASE INHIBITOR
- REGULATORY ROLE
- SEPTIC SHOCK
- NO SYNTHESIS