Elevation of asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA) and coronary artery disease in men with erectile dysfunction

Renke Maas, Sven Wenske, Marcus Zabel, Rodolfo Ventura, Edzard Schwedhelm, Anna Steenpass, Hanno Klemm, Joachim Noldus, Rainer H Böger
European Urology 2005, 48 (6): 1004-11; discussion 1011-2

BACKGROUND: Coronary artery disease (CAD) and erectile dysfunction (ED) of vascular origin are closely related and share common risk factors. The endogenous NO synthase inhibitor asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA) has recently been identified as an independent risk marker for cardiovascular disease and it was the purpose of the present study to investigate the role ADMA in ED with and without underlying CAD.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We determined plasma ADMA levels in 132 men with ED. Patients were divided into a group of 56 men with underlying CAD (ED-CAD) and a group of 76 men without clinical evidence for underlying CAD (ED-No-CAD). Diagnosis of ED was based on the International Index of Erectile Function Score (IIEF-5). Plasma ADMA concentrations in the ED-CAD group were elevated as compared to the ED-No-CAD group, median (IQR): 0.76 (0.65-0.91) micromol/l ADMA vs. 0.49 (0.36-0.71) micromol/l, p < 0.001. In a multiple logistic regression analysis adjusting for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, low HDL cholesterol and diabetes or fasting glucose > or =6.1 mmol/l, ADMA remained a strong and independent predictor for presence of CAD. Odds ratios for second and third tertiles as compared to lowest tertile of plasma ADMA were 3.3 (95%CI, 1.1-10.3; p = 0.041) and 8.7 (95%CI, 2.8-27.2; p < 0.001), respectively.

CONCLUSION: As elevation of ADMA has been found to be associated with many risk factors for both CAD and ED, our data provide further strong evidence for the close interrelation of CAD and ED. Determination of ADMA may help to identify underlying cardiovascular disease in men with ED.

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