Dietary L-arginine supplementation reduces fat mass in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that dietary supplementation of arginine, the physiologic precursor of nitric oxide (NO), reduces fat mass in the Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rat, a genetically obese animal model of type-II diabetes mellitus. Male ZDF rats, 9 wk old, were pair-fed Purina 5008 diet and received drinking water containing arginine-HCl (1.51%) or alanine (2.55%, isonitrogenous control) for 10 wk. Serum concentrations of arginine and NO(x) (oxidation products of NO) were 261 and 70% higher, respectively, in arginine-supplemented rats than in control rats. The body weights of arginine-treated rats were 6, 10, and 16% lower at wk 4, 7, and 10 after the treatment initiation, respectively, compared with control rats. Arginine supplementation reduced the weight of abdominal (retroperitoneal) and epididymal adipose tissues (45 and 25%, respectively) as well as serum concentrations of glucose (25%), triglycerides (23%), FFA (27%), homocysteine (26%), dimethylarginines (18-21%), and leptin (32%). The arginine treatment enhanced NO production (71-85%), lipolysis (22-24%), and the oxidation of glucose (34-36%) and octanoate (40-43%) in abdominal and epididymal adipose tissues. Results of the microarray analysis indicated that arginine supplementation increased adipose tissue expression of key genes responsible for fatty acid and glucose oxidation: NO synthase-1 (145%), heme oxygenase-3 (789%), AMP-activated protein kinase (123%), and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1alpha (500%). The induction of these genes was verified by real-time RT-PCR analysis. In sum, arginine treatment may provide a potentially novel and useful means to enhance NO synthesis and reduce fat mass in obese subjects with type-II diabetes mellitus.

published proceedings

  • J Nutr

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Fu, W. J., Haynes, T. E., Kohli, R., Hu, J., Shi, W., Spencer, T. E., ... Wu, G.

citation count

  • 281

complete list of authors

  • Fu, Wenjiang J||Haynes, Tony E||Kohli, Ripla||Hu, Jianbo||Shi, Wenjuan||Spencer, Thomas E||Carroll, Raymond J||Meininger, Cynthia J||Wu, Guoyao

publication date

  • January 2005