It’s funny how once I start one line of research, I find a lot of promising information. I have been looking at arginine for ED. This lead to the question of what happens when we inhibit the enzyme that breaks down arginine – arginase.
Now I find that a company is developing drugs that block arginase. The company is Arginetix Inc, and it is attempting to develop arginase inhibitors for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and erectile dysfunction (ED). They are also exploring the treatment of asthma and atherosclerosis.
A study published in The American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology demonstrated that, in a mouse model of ED, treatment with an arginase inhibitor restored the intracavernosal pressure (a measure of erection health) of aged mice to the level of young mice without affecting young mice.
While other companies have worked on arginine as a target, no other group is focusing on arginase. Inhibiting the enzyme increases production of nitric oxide, which is critical for cell signaling, and reduces the production of reactive oxygen, which can damage cells.
For more information, here is a press release from Argenitex: CLICK HERE.
Here is an article about inhibiting arginase: CLICK HERE.
If you want to create your own arginase inhibitor in your laboratory, here’s how: CLICK HERE.
On wikipedia, they have this to say about arginase:
Arginase II is coexpressed with nitric oxide (NO) synthase in smooth muscle tissue, such as the muscle in the genitals of both men and women. The contraction and relaxation of these muscles has been attributed to NO synthase, which causes rapid relaxation of smooth muscle tissue and facilitates engorgement of tissue necessary for normal sexual response. However, since NO synthase and arginase compete for the same substrate (L-arginine), over-expressed arginase can affect NO synthase activity and NO-dependent smooth muscle relaxation by depleting the substrate pool of L-arginine that would otherwise be available to NO synthase. In contrast, inhibiting arginase with ABH or other boronic acid inhibitors will maintain normal cellular levels of arginine, thus allowing for normal muscle relaxation and sexual response.
Recent studies have implicated arginase as a controlling factor in both male erectile function and female sexual arousal, and is therefore a potential target for treatment of sexual dysfunction in both sexes. Additionally, supplementing the diet with additional L-arginine will decrease the amount of competition between arginase and NO synthase by providing extra substrate for each enzyme.