Nitric oxide (NO) is a modulator of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and myocardial relaxation. The impact of NO availability on development of LVH has never been demonstrated in humans. We tested the hypotheses that elevation of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) concentrations (biochemical marker of decreased NO generation), and impairment of vascular responsiveness to NO donor GTN, would each predict the presence of LVH and associated LV diastolic dysfunction in a normal aging population.
Methods and results
In 74 subjects aged 68±6 years, LV volumes and mass indexed to height(2.7) (LVMI) were calculated from cardiac MRI. Despite the absence of clinically-defined LVH, there was a relationship (r=0.29; p=0.01) between systolic BP and LVMI. Both elevation of ADMA levels to the highest quartile or impairment of GTN responsiveness (determined by applanation tonometry) to the lowest quartile were determinants of LVMI independent of systolic BP (p=0.01 and p=0.03, respectively). Filling pressure (E/E' ratio from echocardiography) was increased in patients with impaired vascular NO responsiveness (p<0.05) irrespective of LVMI. ADMA remained a significant determinant of LVMI on multivariate analysis.
These data imply that NO bioavailability within the myocardium modulates earliest stages of LVH development and facilitates development of diastolic dysfunction at a given LV mass.