Plasma concentrations of the cardiovascular risk factor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) are increased in patients with HIV-1 infection and correlate with immune activation markers

Pharmacol Res. 2009 Dec;60(6):508-14. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2009.07.009. Epub 2009 Aug 3.


Objective: Higher concentrations of inflammation and immune activation markers as well as the endogenous nitric oxide synthase inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) are associated with an increased cardiovascular risk. In vitro, parallel formation of ADMA and macrophage marker neopterin was found in stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Methods: In 112 HIV-1 infected patients, concentrations of ADMA, SDMA and arginine were compared to C-reactive protein and neopterin concentrations before they were referred to antiretroviral therapy. Disease activity was determined by viral load (qPCR), CD4(+) cell counts (FACS) and neopterin concentrations in plasma and urine (HPLC and ELISA). Additionally, concentrations of lipids were determined.

Results: HIV-1 infected patients presented with increased neopterin, ADMA and SDMA concentrations, whereas CD4(+) counts and arginine and plasma lipid concentrations were low. ADMA and SDMA concentrations significantly correlated with markers of immune activation, but not with plasma lipids.

Conclusions: Results of this study indicate that increased ADMA and SDMA production may be related to an increased activity of immune activation pathways.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arginine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Arginine / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / immunology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / blood*
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV-1* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • N,N-dimethylarginine
  • Arginine