BACKGROUND: Circulating levels of the endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), are positively associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) in cross-sectional investigations. It is unclear if circulating ADMA and other methylarginines are associated with incident MetS prospectively.
METHODS: We related circulating ADMA, symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA), L-arginine (ARG) concentrations (measured with a validated tandem mass spectrometry assay) and the ARG/ADMA ratio to MetS and its components in 2914 (cross-sectional analysis, logistic regression; mean age 58 years, 55% women) and 1656 (prospective analysis, Cox regression; mean age 56 years, 59% women) individuals from the Framingham Offspring Study who attended a routine examination.
RESULTS: Adjusting for age, sex, smoking, and eGFR, we observed significant associations of ADMA (direct) and ARG/ADMA (inverse) with odds of MetS (N = 1461 prevalent cases; Odds Ratio [OR] per SD increment 1.13, 95%CI 1.04-1.22; and 0.89, 95%CI 0.82-0.97 for ADMA and ARG/ADMA, respectively). Upon further adjustment for waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, we observed a positive relation between SDMA and MetS (OR per SD increment 1.15, 95% CI 1.01-1.30) but the other associations were rendered statistically non-significant. We did not observe statistically significant associations between any of the methylarginines and the risk of new-onset MetS (752 incident events) over a median follow-up of 11 years.
CONCLUSION: It is unclear whether dimethylarginines play an important role in the incidence of cardiometabolic risk in the community, notwithstanding cross-sectional associations. Further studies of larger samples are needed to replicate our findings.