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The original version of this article appears in PLoS ONE; 2013 Jun 11;8(6):e65458. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065458.


Endothelial Cell Dysfunction (ECD) is a recognized harbinger of a host of chronic cardiovascular diseases. Using a mouse model of ECD triggered by treatment with L-Nω-methylarginine (L-NMMA), we previously demonstrated that renal microvasculature displays a perturbed protein profile, including diminished expression of two key enzymes of the Krebs cycle associated with a Warburg-type suppression of mitochondrial metabolism. We hypothesized that supplementation with L-glutamine (GLN), that can enter the Krebs cycle downstream this enzymatic bottleneck, would normalize vascular function and alleviate mitochondrial dysfunction. To test this hypothesis, mice with chronic L-NMMA-induced ECD were co-treated with GLN at different concentrations for 2 months. Results confirmed that L-NMMA led to a defect in acetylcholine-induced relaxation of aortic rings that was dose-dependently prevented by GLN. In caveolin-1 transgenic mice characterized by eNOS inactivation, L-NMMA further impaired vasorelaxation which was partially rescued by GLN co-treatment. Pro-inflammatory profile induced by L-NMMA was blunted in mice co-treated with GLN. Using an LC/MS platform for metabolite profiling, we sought to identify metabolic perturbations associated with ECD and offset by GLN supplementation. 3453 plasma molecules could be detected with 100% frequency in mice from at least one treatment group. Among these, 37 were found to be differentially expressed in a 4-way comparison of control vs. LNMMA both with and without GLN. One of such molecules, hippuric acid, an "uremic toxin" was found to be elevated in our non-uremic mice receiving L-NMMA, but normalized by treatment with GLN. Ex vivo analysis of hippuric acid effects on vasomotion demonstrated that it significantly reduced acetylcholine-induced vasorelaxation of vascular rings. In conclusion, functional and metabolic profiling of animals with early ECD revealed macrovasculopathy and that supplementation GLN is capable of improving vascular function. Metabolomic analyses reveal elevation of hippuric acid, which may further exacerbate vasculopathy even before the development of uremia.

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