Mild-to-moderate hypertriglyceridemia in young men is associated with endothelial dysfunction and increased plasma concentrations of asymmetric dimethylarginine

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Jul;38(1):111-6. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(01)01318-3.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate endothelial function and common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in healthy young men with mild-to-moderate hypertriglyceridemia. Plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, was measured to further elucidate the mechanisms involved.

Background: Hypertriglyceridemia is a risk factor for coronary heart disease although the mechanisms behind the increased risk remain to be defined. Acute elevation of plasma triglycerides induced by an intravenous fat load is associated with impaired endothelial function. The results of studies examining acute effects induced by a high-fat meal or effects of chronic hypertriglyceridemia on endothelial function are more inconsistent.

Methods: Flow-mediated vasodilation and nitroglycerin-induced vasodilation of the brachial artery and common carotid IMT were measured noninvasively by ultrasound technique in 15 hypertriglyceridemic (HTG) subjects and 15 matched controls, mean age 34 years. Plasma concentrations of ADMA were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results: Flow-mediated vasodilation was decreased in the HTG group (p < 0.0001), whereas nitroglycerin-induced vasodilation and carotid IMT did not differ significantly. Asymmetric dimethylarginine concentrations were higher in the HTG group (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Hypertriglyceridemia in young men is associated with endothelial dysfunction and increased plasma concentration of ADMA but not with increased IMT of the common carotid artery. The corollary is that chronic hypertriglyceridemia results in endothelial dysfunction, possibly due to increased ADMA concentration, and that endothelial dysfunction might precede increased IMT among the early manifestations of atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arginine / analogs & derivatives
  • Arginine / blood*
  • Brachial Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Brachial Artery / physiopathology
  • Carotid Artery, Common / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, Common / physiopathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / blood*
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional
  • Vasodilation


  • N,N-dimethylarginine
  • Arginine
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase