BACKGROUND - Endothelial dysfunction occurs in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) contributes to endothelial dysfunction in ESRD. In the general population, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) decrease ADMA levels, but no study has compared the effect of these drugs in patients with ESRD on maintenance hemodialysis (MHD).
METHODS - We evaluated the effect of 1-week treatment with ramipril (5 mg/d), valsartan (160 mg/d), and placebo on ADMA levels in 15 patients on MHD in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, three x three cross-over study.
RESULTS - We found that ADMA levels were increased at baseline and throughout the dialysis session during ramipril treatment (p < 0.001 compared to both, placebo and valsartan). Ramipril did not increase ADMA levels in a study of patients without ESRD, suggesting that factors related to ESRD or hemodialysis contribute to the ACE inhibitor-induced increase in ADMA. We have previously shown that ACE inhibition increases bradykinin (BK) levels during hemodialysis. We therefore evaluated the effect of bradykinin on ADMA production in A549 cells; a cell line that expresses BK receptors. Incubation with BK increased intracellular ADMA concentration through BK B2-receptor stimulation.
CONCLUSION - These data indicate that short-term ACE inhibition increases ADMA in patients on MHD whereas ARBs do not. In vitro studies further suggest that this may occur through BK-mediated increase in ADMA production during ACE inhibition.
TRIAL REGISTRATION - Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00732069 August 6 2008 and NCT00607672 February 4 2008.