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Vol. 27, No. 1, 2007
Issue release date: March 2007
Am J Nephrol 2007;27:70–74

Effects of α-Lipoic Acid on the Plasma Levels of Asymmetric Dimethylarginine in Diabetic End-Stage Renal Disease Patients on Hemodialysis: A Pilot Study

Chang J.W. · Lee E.K. · Kim T.H. · Min W.K. · Chun S. · Lee K.-U. · Kim S.B. · Park J.S.
Departments of aInternal Medicine and bDiagnostic Laboratory Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

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Background/Aim: Endothelial dysfunction due to reduced nitric oxide (NO) availability precedes the development of atherosclerosis. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of NO synthase, is not only a cause of endothelial dysfunction, but also a predictor of the cardiovascular outcome in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients on hemodialysis (HD). α-Lipoic acid (ALA), a strong antioxidant, increases NO-mediated vasodilation in diabetic patients. We investigated whether ALA could decrease the plasma level of ADMA in diabetic ESRD patients on HD. Methods: Fifty patients undergoing HD three times per week were randomized to a treatment group receiving ALA 600 mg/day for 12 weeks or a control group. We measured the plasma levels of cholesterol, albumin, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, oxidized low-density lipoprotein, hemoglobin A1c, and ADMA in both groups at baseline and at 12 weeks. Results: In the control group, the levels of total cholesterol, serum albumin, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, oxidized low-density lipoprotein, hemoglobin A1c, and ADMA did not change. In the treatment group, the plasma levels of ADMA decreased significantly from a median of 1.68 (range 0.45–3.78) µM to a median of 1.31 (range 0.25–3.19) µM (p = 0.001). Conclusion: Considering that ADMA is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular outcome in ESRD patients, ALA may have the potential of a beneficial effect in them, in part by decreasing the plasma level of ADMA.

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