2015 Volume 56 Issue 3 Pages 201-207
Changes in l-arginine metabolism, including increased arginase levels and decreased nitric oxide production, are involved in the pathophysiology of asthma. In this study, using an intranasal mite-induced NC/Nga mouse model of asthma, we examined whether administration of l-arginine ameliorated airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation by altering l-arginine metabolism. Experimental asthma was induced in NC/Nga mice via intranasal administration of mite crude extract (50 µg/day) on 5 consecutive days (days 0–4, sensitization) and on day 11 (challenge). Oral administration of l-arginine (250 mg/kg) was performed twice daily on days 5–10 for prevention or on days 11–13 for therapy. On day 14, we evaluated the inflammatory airway response (airway hyperresponsiveness, the number of cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and the changes in pathological inflammation of the lung), arginase expression and activity, l-arginine bioavailability, and the concentration of NOx, the end products of nitric oxide. Treatment with l-arginine ameliorated the mite-induced inflammatory airway response. Furthermore, l-arginine administration attenuated the increases in arginase expression and activity and elevated the NOx levels by enhancing l-arginine bioavailability. These findings indicate that l-arginine administration may contribute to the improvement of asthmatic symptoms by altering l-arginine metabolism.