Relationship among manganese, arginase, and nitric oxide in childhood asthma.
ABSTRACT It has been demonstrated that the lowest intakes of manganese (Mn) were associated with more than a fivefold increased risk of bronchial reactivity. It was also known that nitric oxide (NO) production was found to be significantly higher in asthmatics. There is a reciprocal pathway between arginase and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) for NO production, and Mn is required for arginase activity and stability. We investigated plasma NO, arginase, and its cofactor Mn levels to evaluate this reciprocal pathway in patients with childhood asthma. Arginase activities and Mn and NO levels were measured in plasma from 31 patients with childhood asthma and 22 healthy control subjects. Plasma arginase activities and Mn concentrations were found to be significantly lower and NO levels were significantly higher in patients with childhood asthma as compared to the control subjects. There was a significantly positive correlation between plasma Mn and arginase and negative correlations between arginase and NO values and Mn and NO values in patients with childhood asthma. These data indicate that the lower concentration of Mn could cause lower arginase activity and this could also upregulate NO production by increasing l-arginine content in patients with childhood asthma.