ADMA and oxidative stress

Atheroscler Suppl. 2003 Dec;4(4):41-51. doi: 10.1016/s1567-5688(03)00033-3.


Elevated plasma concentrations of the endogenous nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) represent a novel risk factor for the development of endothelial dysfunction and a predictor for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. However, it is unknown whether elevated ADMA plasma concentrations may be considered simply as a marker for cardiovascular disease or whether increased ADMA levels per se may predispose to the development of vascular disease. There is experimental and clinical evidence linking endothelial dysfunction to increased production of oxygen-derived free radicals such as superoxide anion. Oxidative stress has been shown to increase the activity of arginine methylating and ADMA degrading enzymes leading to increased ADMA concentrations. Interestingly, the endothelial nitric oxide synthase may become uncoupled in the presence of high ADMA levels further contributing to the vascular oxidative stress burden. It remains to be established to what extent ADMA is able to interact with eNOS in vivo. Possible mechanisms underlying increased oxidative stress in the setting of elevated ADMA concentrations and therapeutic implications will be discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arginine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Arginine / metabolism
  • Arginine / pharmacology*
  • Arginine / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / drug effects
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Vasodilation / drug effects
  • Vasodilation / physiology


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