Changes in Biliary Levels of Arginine and its Methylated Derivatives after Hepatic Ischaemia/Reperfusion

Andrea Ferrigno, Laura Giuseppina Di Pasqua, Clarissa Berardo, Vittoria Rizzo, Plinio Richelmi, Mariapia Vairetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arginine (Arg) can be methylated to form symmetrical dimethylarginine (SDMA) and asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), the latter an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). SDMA is excreted in the urine, while ADMA is mainly subjected to degradation in the liver. Arg competes with ADMA and SDMA for cellular transport across cationic amino-acid transporters (CATs). We evaluated the changes in serum, tissue and biliary levels of Arg, citrulline (Cit), ADMA and SDMA and the modifications in CATs after ischaemia-reperfusion (I/R). Male Wistar rats were subjected to 30-min. partial-hepatic ischaemia or sham-operated. After 60-min. reperfusion, the concentrations of ADMA, SDMA, Arg and Cit in serum, tissue and bile were measured. Serum levels of AST, ALT and alkaline phosphatase (AP) levels were determined. mRNA of cationic transporter 2A (CAT-2A) and 2B (CAT-2B) were also quantified. An increase in ADMA and a decrease in SDMA were observed in bile at the end of reperfusion. On the contrary, lower tissue ADMA levels and higher SDMA levels were quantified. No serum changes in ADMA and SDMA were found. A decrease in Arg and an increase of Cit were detected in serum, bile and tissue after I/R. A marked increase in AST, ALT and AP levels in serum confirmed I/R injury. A decrease in mRNA transporter CAT-2A but not in CAT-2B was detected. This study supported a biliary CAT-2B-dependent transport of ADMA and demonstrated, for the first time, that the liver is also responsible for the biliary excretion of SDMA into the bile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-9
Number of pages9
JournalBasic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Amidohydrolases
  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Basic
  • Animals
  • Arginine
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Bile
  • Citrulline
  • Liver
  • Liver Diseases
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reperfusion Injury
  • Journal Article


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