Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase and endothelial dysfunction in failing hearts

Yingjie Chen, Yunfang Li, Ping Zhang, Jay H. Traverse, Mingxiao Hou, Xin Xu, Masumi Kimoto, Robert J Bache

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Congestive heart failure (CHF) is associated with impaired endothelium-dependent nitric oxide (NO)-mediated vasodilation (endothelial dysfunction). We hypothesized that coronary endothelial dysfunction in CHF may be due in part to decreased dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH), the enzyme that degrades endogenous inhibitors of NO synthase (NOS), including asymmetric dimethylarginine. Coronary blood flow and the endothelium-dependent vasodilator response to acetylcholine were studied in dogs in which CHF was produced by rapid ventricular pacing for 4 wk. Coronary flow and myocardial O2 consumption at rest and during treadmill exercise were decreased after development of CHF, and the vasodilator response to intracoronary acetylcholine (75 μg/min) was decreased by 39 ± 5%. DDAH activity and DDAH isoform 2 (DDAH-2) protein content were decreased by 53 ± 13% and 58 ± 14%, respectively, in hearts with CHF, whereas endothelial NOS and DDAH isoform 1 (DDAH-1) were increased. Caveolin-1 and protein arginine N-methyltransferase 1, the enzyme that produces asymmetric dimethylarginine, were unchanged. Immunohistochemical staining showed DDAH-1 strongly expressed in coronary endothelium and smooth muscle and in the sarcolemma of cardiac myocytes. In cultured human endothelial cells, DDAH-1 was uniformly distributed in the cytosol and nucleus, whereas DDAH-2 was found only in the cytosol. Decreased DDAH activity and DDAH-2 protein expression may cause accumulation of endogenous inhibitors of endothelial NOS, thereby contributing to endothelial dysfunction in the failing heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2212-H2219
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5 58-5
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Exercise
  • Heart failure
  • Nitric oxide
  • Pacemaker


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