Korbonits M, Trainer PJ, Fanciulli G, Oliva O, Pala A, Dettori A, Besser GM, Delitala G, Grossman AB. l-Arginine is unlikely to exert neuroendocrine effects in humans via the generation of nitric oxide. Eur J Endocrinol 1996;135:543–7. ISSN 0804–4643
There is now considerable evidence that nitric oxide is an important neuroregulatory agent, but there has been very little investigation of its possible role in neuroendocrine mechanisms in humans. We have investigated the effects of two nitric oxide precursors, l-arginine and molsidomine, under basal conditions on the pituitary hormones growth hormone (GH), prolactin, luteinizing hormone, folliclestimulating hormone, thyrotrophin, adrenocorticotrophin (ACTH) and vasopressin, and also on serum cortisol; we have also studied the effect of l-arginine on circulating prolactin, ACTH and cortisol in normal human subjects under hypoglycaemic stress. l-Arginine stimulated both GH and prolactin release under basal conditions but had no effect on the other hormones studied, while the nitric oxide donor molsidomine showed no effect on any hormone studied. l-Arginine potentiated the hypoglycaemia-stimulated release of ACTH but did not influence the rise in GH. The current studies suggest that the effects of l-arginine on the stimulation of GH and prolactin release are unlikely to be mediated via the generation of nitric oxide.
A Grossman, Department of Endocrinology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE, UK