Background: Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) acts as an endogenous inhibitor of NO-synthase. In the last years ADMA has emerged as a cardiovascular risk factor. The aim of this study was to determine a reference value for ADMA.
Methods: Plasma samples of 500 healthy subjects in the 19-75 year age group were analyzed. Exclusion criteria from this study were smoking, any known significant disease, body-mass-index (BMI) above 30 kg m(-2), elevated plasma lipid levels, impaired renal function, hypertension, and intake of any medication. The ADMA levels were determined by ELISA, (DLD Diagnostics, Hamburg, Germany).
Results: Mean ADMA plasma concentration of the total population was 0.69 micromol L(-1) (SD 0.20) and 95% of the measured values were in the range from 0.36 micromol L(-1) to 1.17 micromol L(-1). Women below 50 years of age had lower ADMA levels than men below 50 years of age [0.62 (0.17) micromol L(-1) vs. 0.69 (0.19) micromol L(-1); P = 0.001] and woman above 50 years of age had higher ADMA levels than men above 50 years of age [0.80 (0.22) micromol L(-1) vs. 0.73 (0.20) micromol L(-1); P = 0.036]. A regression analysis of ADMA levels and age was performed for each sex. The regression factor was r = 0.444 for women in a squared regression model (P < 0.001) and r = 0.212 for men in a linear regression model (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: The study was able to define a reference value for ADMA plasma levels with 0.36-1.17 micromol L(-1) and found sex dependent correlations between ADMA and age. Women showed a significant increase in ADMA plasma levels with onset of menopause.