Alternative metabolic pathways of arginine and their pathophysiological roles

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Arginine is not only a protein constituent but it is metabolized through various alternative pathways in mammalian cells. Our review is focused on the two most important alternative pathways: the nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and the arginase reaction. In cells where both pathways are active, their regulation is generally reciprocal due to the common substrate. This reciprocal regulation was described at the level of both enzyme activities and expressions. Cross inhibition between arginase and NO synthase metabolites can be observed and different cytokines act differently on the expression of both enzymes as well. Arginase and NO synthase isoenzymes are involved in various important physiological processes such as urea cycle, vasodilation, immune defense against certain invaders and neurotransmission. However, the overexpression of these enzymes and overproduction of NO may contribute to the onset of various pathophysiological processes. NO overproduction may be responsible for neurotoxicity, septic shock, type 1 diabetes mellitus or various inflammatory diseases in numerous organs. In addition, inflammatory responses involving the inducible NO synthase may also contribute to the etiology of metabolic syndrome, while impaired NO production by the endothelial NO synthase may be in the background of cardiovascular disorders or preeclampsia. On the other part, the involvement of high arginase expression was observed in cardiovascular disorders and several pulmonary diseases, as pulmonary hypertension, silicosis and asthma. In conclusion, alternative arginine metabolic pathways and their regulation are important factors both in the maintenance of healthy state and in the pathogenesis of various diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArginine Amino Acid
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9781617619816
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2011


  • Alternative pathways
  • Arginase
  • Arginine
  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Inhibitors
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Preeclampsia
  • Pulmonal hypertension
  • Reciprocal regulation
  • Silicosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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  • Cite this

    Hrabák, A., & Kukor, Z. (2011). Alternative metabolic pathways of arginine and their pathophysiological roles. In Arginine Amino Acid (pp. 33-66). Nova Science Publishers, Inc..