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Nitric Oxide and bone


Essential amino acids, such as L-Arginine (Arg) and L-Lysine (Lys), are involved in bone metabolism and growth. Our previous studies analysed the effect of these amino acids on rat osteoblast cultures and in experimental animals. In this study, we evaluated the effect of L-Arg and L-Lys on cultured human osteoblasts. Primary human osteoblast cultures were divided into four groups: the Arg Group received 0.625 mg/ml per day of Arg, the Lys Group 0.587 mg/ml per day of Lys, the Arg–Lys Group received both amino acids, whereas the Control Group was sham-treated.


After 7 days, the following parameters were tested in all groups: alkaline phosphatase (ALP), nitric oxide (NO), calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), osteocalcin (OC), type I collagen (PICP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β 1) on culture supernatant, platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and MTT proliferation test on cells. Arg administration significantly increased ALP, NO, PICP and IGF-I production and reduced the level of IL-6. Lys administration over the same time interval mainly affected cell proliferation, as evidenced by the MTT test and immunostaining for PDGF. The same positive effects evidenced by the single administrations of the two amino acids resulted from their simultaneous administration.

However, synergism could be demonstrated only for the decrease in the level of IL-6. Arg and Lys show a positive effect on human osteoblasts, which is related partly to the production of those factors required for matrix synthesis, and partly to the direct or mediated activation of cell when both amino acids were applied together to the osteoblasts.


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