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L-arginine is a key metabolite for nitric oxide production by endothelial cells, as well as signaling molecule of the mTOR signaling pathway. mTOR supports endothelial cells homeostasis and regulates activity of the L-arginine-metabolizing enzymes, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and arginase II. Disruption of the L-arginine metabolism in endothelial cells leads to the development of endothelial dysfunction. Conflicting results of the use of L-arginine supplement to improve endothelial function reveals a controversial role of the amino acid in the endothelial cell biology. The review is aimed at analysis of the current data on the role of L-arginine metabolism in the development of endothelial dysfunction.
KEY WORDS: L-arginine, endothelium, nitric oxide, eNOS, arginase, mTOR