Amino Acids

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 349–357

Beneficial effects of l-arginine on reducing obesity: potential mechanisms and important implications for human health

Authors

  • Jason R. McKnight
    • Department of Animal Science, Faculty of NutritionTexas A&M University
  • M. Carey Satterfield
    • Department of Animal Science, Faculty of NutritionTexas A&M University
  • Wenjuan S. Jobgen
    • Department of Animal Science, Faculty of NutritionTexas A&M University
  • Stephen B. Smith
    • Department of Animal Science, Faculty of NutritionTexas A&M University
  • Thomas E. Spencer
    • Department of Animal Science, Faculty of NutritionTexas A&M University
  • Cynthia J. Meininger
    • Department of Systems Biology and Translational MedicineTexas A&M Health Science Center
  • Catherine J. McNeal
    • Department of Internal MedicineScott & White Healthcare
    • Department of PediatricsScott & White Healthcare
    • Department of Animal Science, Faculty of NutritionTexas A&M University
    • Department of Systems Biology and Translational MedicineTexas A&M Health Science Center
Invited Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00726-010-0598-z

Cite this article as:
McKnight, J.R., Satterfield, M.C., Jobgen, W.S. et al. Amino Acids (2010) 39: 349. doi:10.1007/s00726-010-0598-z

Abstract

Over the past 20 years, growing interest in the biochemistry, nutrition, and pharmacology of l-arginine has led to extensive studies to explore its nutritional and therapeutic roles in treating and preventing human metabolic disorders. Emerging evidence shows that dietary l-arginine supplementation reduces adiposity in genetically obese rats, diet-induced obese rats, finishing pigs, and obese human subjects with Type-2 diabetes mellitus. The mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects of l-arginine are likely complex, but ultimately involve altering the balance of energy intake and expenditure in favor of fat loss or reduced growth of white adipose tissue. Recent studies indicate that l-arginine supplementation stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis and brown adipose tissue development possibly through the enhanced synthesis of cell-signaling molecules (e.g., nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, polyamines, cGMP, and cAMP) as well as the increased expression of genes that promote whole-body oxidation of energy substrates (e.g., glucose and fatty acids) Thus, l-arginine holds great promise as a safe and cost-effective nutrient to reduce adiposity, increase muscle mass, and improve the metabolic profile in animals and humans.

Keywords

ArginineFat metabolismBrown adipose tissueNO

Abbreviations

ACC

Acetyl-CoA carboxylase

AMPK

AMP-activated protein kinase

Arg

l-Arginine

BAT

Brown adipose tissue

CPT-1

Carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1

DIO

Diet-induced obese

GC

Guanylyl cyclase

LCFA

Long-chain fatty acid

NO

Nitric oxide

NOS

Nitric oxide synthase

PGC-1α

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator-1α

UPC1

Uncoupling protein-1

WAT

White adipose tissue

ZDF

Zucker diabetic fatty

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010