Purpose of review: This review summarizes current knowledge on asymmetric dimethylarginine, renal function in health and disease, and renal disease progression and examines interventions that may modify the plasma concentration of this methylarginine.
Recent findings: Nitric oxide deficiency may occur in patients with chronic kidney disease and may contribute to accelerate progression of chronic kidney disease, hypertension and cardiovascular complications. An increase of endogenous nitric oxide inhibitors like asymmetric dimethylarginine seems to play a major role in this process. The kidneys are crucial in both, in re-absorbing and generating L-arginine as well as in eliminating asymmetric dimethylarginine primarily by the enzyme dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase and to a minor degree by urinary excretion. Asymmetric dimethylarginine accumulation predicts both accelerated renal function loss and death in patients with chronic kidney disease and incident cardiovascular complications in patients with end stage renal disease.
Summary: Asymmetric dimethylarginine is a new risk factor potentially implicated in the progression of renal insufficiency and in the high rate of cardiovascular complications of patients with chronic kidney disease.