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Pros and cons of L-arginine supplementation in disease

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 December 2007

Yvonne L. J. Vissers
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, NL-6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
Iris B. J. G. Debats
Affiliation:
Department of Plastic Surgery, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Yvette C. Luiking
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, NL-6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
Rajiv Jalan
Affiliation:
Department of Hepatology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK
René R. W. J. van der Hulst
Affiliation:
Department of Plastic Surgery, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Cornelis H. C. Dejong
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, NL-6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
Nicolaas E. P. Deutz
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, NL-6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

The amino acid arginine and one of its metabolites NO have gathered broad attention in the last decade. Although arginine is regarded as a conditionally essential amino acid in disease, L-arginine supplementation in severe illness has not found its way into clinical practice. This might be due to the invalid interpretation of results from studies with immune-enhancing diets containing L-arginine amongst other pharmaconutrients. However, not much attention is given to research using L-arginine as a monotherapy and the possibility of the alternative hypothesis: that L-arginine supplementation is beneficial in disease. The present review will discuss data from studies in healthy and diseased animals and patients with monotherapy of L-arginine to come to an objective overview of positive and negative aspects of L-arginine supplementation in disease with special emphasis on sepsis, cancer, liver failure and wound healing.

Type
research-article
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 2004

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