Abstract: Arginine residues in proteins can be singly or doubly methylated post-translationally. Proteolysis of arginine-methylated proteins provides monomethyl arginine, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) and symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA). ADMA and SDMA are considered cardiovascular risk factors, with the underlying mechanisms being not yet fully understood. SDMA lacks appreciable metabolism and is almost completely eliminated by the kidney, whereas ADMA is extensively metabolized to dimethylamine (DMA), with a minor ADMA fraction of about 10% being excreted unchanged in the urine. Urinary DMA and ADMA are useful measures of whole-body asymmetric arginine-dimethylation, while urinary SDMA serves as a whole-body measure of symmetric arginine-dimethylation. In renal transplant recipients (RTR), we previously found that higher plasma ADMA concentrations and lower urinary ADMA and SDMA concentrations were associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality. Yet, in this RTR collective, no data were available for urinary DMA. For the present study, we additionally measured the excretion rate of DMA in 24-h collected urine samples of the RTR and of healthy kidney donors in the cohort, with the aim to quantitate whole-body asymmetric (ADMA, DMA) and symmetric (SDMA) arginine-dimethylation. We found that lower DMA excretion rates were associated with higher all-cause mortality, yet not with cardiovascular mortality. In the healthy donors, kidney donation was associated with considerable decreases in ADMA (by - 39%, P < 0.0001) and SDMA (by - 21%, P < 0.0001) excretion rates, yet there was no significant change in DMA (by - 9%, P = 0.226) excretion rate. Our results suggest that protein-arginine dimethylation is altered in RTR compared to healthy kidney donors and that it is pronouncedly shifted from symmetric to asymmetric arginine-dimethylation, with whole-body protein-arginine dimethylation being almost unaffected.
... read more