Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that plays an important role in the regulation of metabolic processes associated with several pathological/physiological conditions. In the vasculature, it mainly exerts its biological functions as a substrate of two alternative pathways: the conversion to nitric oxide (NO) by nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and the breakdown to urea and ornithine by arginase. To determine arginine metabolism, in the current study we propose an original radiochemical technique that allows the simultaneous monitoring of NOS and arginase activation within intact cells. Taking advantage of this method, we show here the consequences of different experimental conditions known to modulate endothelial homeostasis on arginine metabolism.
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