L-Arginine Enhances the Effects of Cardiac Rehabilitation on Physical Performance: New Insights for Managing Cardiovascular Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Pasquale Mone, Raffaele Izzo, Giuseppe Marazzi, Maria Virginia Manzi, Paola Gallo, Giuseppe Campolongo, Luca Cacciotti, Domenico Tartaglia, Giuseppe Caminiti, Fahimeh Varzideh, Gaetano Santulli, Valentina Trimarco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) following acute myocardial infarction (AMI) improves physical capacities and decreases hospitalizations and cardiovascular mortality. L-arginine is the substrate used by nitric oxide (NO) synthase to generate NO and it has been shown to exert its beneficial effects on endothelium driving vasodilatation, reducing inflammation, and ameliorating physical function. We hypothesized that L-arginine could enhance physical capacities in patients who underwent CR after AMI.We designed a study aimed to assess the effects of L-arginine administration on the physical capacity of patients who underwent coronary revascularization after AMI. The trial was carried out amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients were assigned, with a 2:1 ratio, to add to their standard therapy one bottle containing 1.66 g of L-arginine or one bottle of identical aspect apart from not containing L-arginine, twice a day orally for 3 weeks. Patients performed a 6-minute walking test (6MWT), and their Borg modified 0-10 rating of perceived exertion (BRPE) was assessed before starting and at the end of the treatment. Seventy-five patients receiving L-arginine, and 35 receiving placebo successfully completed the study. The 6MWT distance increased significantly in the L-arginine group compared with both baseline and placebo (P < 0.0001). Additionally, we observed a significant improvement in the BRPE in patients treated with L-arginine but not in the placebo group. Taken together, our data indicate that L-arginine potentiates the response to CR independently of age, sex, baseline functional capacity, and comorbid conditions. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This study shows for the first time that oral supplementation of L-arginine potentiates the response to cardiac rehabilitation after myocardial infarction and cardiac revascularization. Indeed, we observed a significant improvement in two fundamental parameters, namely, the 6-minute walking test and the Borg modified 0-10 rating of perceived exertion. Strikingly, the beneficial effects of L-arginine were independent of age, sex, comorbid conditions, and baseline functional capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume381
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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