L-arginine infusion has no effect on systemic haemodynamics in normal volunteers, or systemic and pulmonary haemodynamics in patients with elevated pulmonary vascular resistance

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1993 Jul;36(1):45-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.1993.tb05890.x.


1. The evidence that the infusion of L-arginine, the precursor of endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF)/nitric oxide (NO), may reduce systemic blood pressure, via the generation of intracellular cyclic guanosine-3,5-monophosphate(cGMP), in normotensive volunteers is controversial. In the first part of the study we investigated the effect of an L-arginine infusion on systemic blood pressure and plasma cGMP in healthy volunteers. 2. Patients with systemic sclerosis have widespread endothelial damage which, by reducing the release of NO, could contribute to the raised pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) often found in this condition. We hypothesised that if there were a failure of NO synthesis this might be overcome by infusing L-arginine into the pulmonary artery, thereby lowering PVR. In the second part of the study we investigated the effect of L-arginine infusion on systemic and pulmonary haemodynamics, and on plasma cGMP levels in patients with pulmonary hypertension and systemic sclerosis. 3. L-arginine (500 mg kg-1) was infused over 30 min into five normotensive volunteers and five patients with systemic sclerosis and pulmonary hypertension. Blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature were measured non-invasively in the volunteers and systemic and pulmonary haemodynamics recorded via radial artery cannulae and balloon-tipped, flow directed, pulmonary artery catheters in the patients with systemic sclerosis. 4. L-arginine had no significant effect on blood pressure, heart rate or skin temperature in the normotensive volunteers nor on systemic or pulmonary haemodynamics in the systemic sclerotic group. Cyclic-GMP levels did not significantly change in either group.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arginine / administration & dosage
  • Arginine / pharmacology*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cyclic GMP / blood
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Circulation / drug effects*
  • Pulse / drug effects
  • Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Skin Temperature / drug effects
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology*


  • Arginine
  • Cyclic GMP