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Oral arginine improves blood pressure in renal transplant and hemodialysis patients.

Kelly BS; Alexander JW; Dreyer D; Greenberg NA; Erickson A; Whiting JF; Ogle CK; Babcock GF; First MR

Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 2001 Jul-Aug;25(4):194-202

BACKGROUND: Hypertension in kidney transplant (KT) patients may result from attenuated whole-body nitric oxide (NO) content and abnormal NO-mediated vasodilation. Increasing NO bioavailability with L-arginine (ARG) could theoretically restore the NO-mediated vasodilatory response and lower blood pressure. METHODS: In a prospective pilot study, 6 normotensive volunteers and 10 KT patients received oral supplements of ARG (9.0 g/d) for 9 days, then 18.0 g/d for 9 more days. Six hemodialysis (HD) and 4 peritoneal dialysis patients received the same dose for 14 days. Five KT patients received 30 mL/d of canola oil (CanO) in addition to ARG. Systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure, creatinine clearance (CCr), and serum creatinine (Cr) were measured at baseline, day 9, and day 18. In a subsequent study, 20 hypertensive KT patients with stable but abnormal renal function were randomized in a crossover study to start ARG-only or ARG+CanO supplements for two 2-month periods with an intervening month of no supplementation. SBP, DBP, CCr, and Cr were measured monthly for 7 months. RESULTS: In the pilot study, ARG reduced the SBP in HD patients from 171.5 +/- 7.5 mmHg (baseline) to 142.8 +/- 8.3 mmHg (p = .028). In the crossover study, SBP was reduced from baseline (155.9 +/- 5.0 mmHg), after the first 2 months (143.2 +/- 3.2 mmHg; p = .03) and subsequent 2 months (143.3 +/- 2.5 mmHg; p = .014) of supplementation. DBP was also reduced after supplementation in both studies. CanO had no effect on blood pressure. Renal function did not change. CONCLUSIONS: Oral preparations of ARG (+/-CanO) were well tolerated for up to 60 consecutive days and had favorable effects on systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive kidney transplant and hemodialysis patients.


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