Nitric oxide (NO) derived from endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) is a potent vasodilator and signaling molecule that plays essential roles in neovascularization. During limb ischemia, decreased NO bioavailability occurs secondary to increased oxidant stress, decreased L-arginine and tetrahydrobiopterin. This study tested the hypothesis that dietary cosupplementation with tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), L-arginine and vitamin C acts synergistically to decrease oxidant stress, increase NO and thereby increase blood flow recovery after hindlimb ischemia. Rats were fed normal chow, chow supplemented with BH4 or L-arginine (alone or in combination) or chow supplemented with BH4 + L-arginine + vitamin C for 1 wk before induction of hindlimb ischemia. In the is-chemic hindlimb, cosupplementation with BH4 + L-arginine resulted in greater eNOS and phospho-eNOS (P-eNOS) expression, Ca(2+)-dependent NOS activity and NO concentration in the ischemic calf region (gastrocnemius), as well as greater NO concentration in the region of collateral arteries (gracilis). Rats receiving cosupplementation of BH4 + L-arginine led to greater recovery of foot perfusion and greater collateral enlargement than did rats receiving either agent separately. The addition of vitamin C to the BH4 + L-arginine regimen further increased these dependent variables. In addition, rats given all three supplements showed significantly less Ca(2+)-independent activity, less nitrotyrosine accumulation, greater glutathione (GSH)-to-glutathione disulfide (GSSG) ratio and less gastrocnemius muscle necrosis, on both macroscopic and microscopic levels. In conclusion, co-supplementation with BH4 + L-arginine + vitamin C significantly increased blood flow recovery after hindlimb ischemia by reducing oxidant stress, increasing NO bioavailability, enlarging collateral arteries and reducing muscle necrosis. Oral cosupplementation of BH4, L-arginine and vitamin C holds promise as a biological therapy to induce collateral artery enlargement.


Jinglian Yan, Guodong Tie, Louis M Messina


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