BIOLOGICAL TRACE ELEMENT RESEARCH, vol.115, no.2, pp.97-106, 2007 (SCI-Expanded)
Nitric oxide (NO) participates in the pathogenesis of inflammatory reactions in many autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There is a reciprocal pathway between arginase and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) for NO production, and Mn is required for arginase activity and stability. To investigate whether NO production related with the arginine-nitric oxide pathway in patients with RA, we measured synovial fluid and plasma nitrite (NO,) levels, arginase activities, and its cofactor manganese (Mn) concentrations in 21 RA patients and 13 healthy control subjects. Plasma albumin levels were measured as an index of nutritional status. NO, levels were determined after the reduction of nitrates to nitrites using the Griess reaction. Whereas, synovial fluid arginase activities and Mn levels were found to be significantly lower (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, respectively), plasma arginase activities and Mn levels were similar in patients with RA when compared to the control subjects. Plasma and synovial fluid NO levels were similar in patients with RA and in healthy subjects (p > 0.05, p > 0.05, respectively). There were significantly positive correlations between synovial fluid and plasma arginase activities vs Mn content (r=0.543, p=0.011; r=0.516, p=0.017, respectively) and significantly negative correlations between synovial fluid and plasma NO levels vs arginase activities (r=-0.497, p=0.022; r=-0.508, p=0.019 respectively) in the patients group. Our results indicate that the lower concentration of synovial fluid Mn could cause lower arginase activity and this could also upregulate NO production by increasing L-arginine content in patients with RA.