Background: Atherosclerosis is a major cause of death in elderly individuals. Endothelial dysfunction is recognized as a key early event in atherogenesis. In the present study, we evaluated the possible beneficial effect of amino acid administration on endothelial regulation in elderly subjects. Methods: A total of 25 healthy elderly subjects were administered essential amino acids (EAA) for 4 months. Before and after EAA administration, each subject underwent brachial reactivity investigation with and without an intra-arterial infusion of 4 μmol/min of NG-monomethyl-l-arginine (L-NMMA), an inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO) synthase. Results: At baseline, age correlated with free plasma insulin growth factor-1 IGF-1 (r = -0.48; P <.01), plasma Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) (r = -0.40; P <.04), and thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) (r = 0.42, P <.04), and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index (r = 0.45, P <.03), as well as with changes in diameter (r = -0.49, P <.01) and flow (r = -0.43, P <.03). Administration of EAA was associated with a significant increase in plasma TEAC (P <.001) and decline in plasma TBARS (P <.001) and with improvement in changes in diameter (7.15 ±1.10 v 8.98 ±1.80, P <.001) and flow (5.6 ±1.2 v 6.4 ± 1.2, P <.03). These latter two associations were independent of changes in HOMA index (P <.04 for both correlations). The beneficial effects of EAA administration on brachial reactivity were partly attenuated by L-NMMA. Conclusions: Administration of EAA may improve brachial reactivity in elderly persons and may also protect against the development of atherosclerosis via the rise in plasma-free IGF-1 levels.
- Brachial reactivity
- Essential amino acids
- Free plasma IGF-1
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine