The biomarker and causal roles of homoarginine in the development of cardiometabolic diseases: an observational and Mendelian randomization analysis

Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 25;7(1):1130. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-01274-6.


High L-homoarginine (hArg) levels are directly associated with several risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases whereas low levels predict increased mortality in prospective studies. The biomarker role of hArg in young adults remains unknown. To study the predictive value of hArg in the development of cardiometabolic risk factors and diseases, we utilized data on high-pressure liquid chromatography-measured hArg, cardiovascular risk factors, ultrasound markers of preclinical atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes from the population-based Young Finns Study involving 2,106 young adults (54.6% females, aged 24-39). We used a Mendelian randomization approach involving tens to hundreds of thousands of individuals to test causal associations. In our 10-year follow-up analysis, hArg served as an independent predictor for future hyperglycaemia (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.06-1.63) and abdominal obesity (OR 1.60, 95% 1.14-2.30) in men and type 2 diabetes in women (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.02-2.41). The MR analysis revealed no evidence of causal associations between serum hArg and any of the studied cardiometabolic outcomes. In conclusion, lifetime exposure to higher levels of circulating hArg does not seem to alter cardiometabolic disease risk. Whether hArg could be used as a biomarker for identification of individuals at risk developing cardiometabolic abnormalities merits further investigation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Homoarginine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mendelian Randomization Analysis
  • Metabolic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Homoarginine