Clinical and model studies indicate that low nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability due in part to profound hypoargininemia contributes to cerebral malaria (CM) pathogenesis. Protection against CM pathogenesis may be achieved by altering the diet before infection with Plasmodium falcIParum infection (nutraceutical) or by administering adjunctive therapy that decreases CM mortality (adjunctive therapy). This hypothesis was tested by administering citrulline or arginine in experimental CM (eCM). We report that citrulline injected as prophylaxis immediately post infection (PI) protected virtually all mice by ameliorating (i) hypoargininemia, (ii) urea cycle impairment, and (iii) disruption of blood brain barrier. Citrulline prophylaxis inhibited plasma arginase activity. Parasitemia was similar in citrulline- And vehicle control-groups, indicating that protection from pathogenesis was not due to decreased parasitemia. Both citrulline and arginine administered from day 1 PI in the drinking water significantly protected mice from eCM. These observations collectively indicate that increasing dietary citrulline or arginine decreases eCM mortality. Citrulline injected IP on day 4 PI with quinine-injected IP on day 6 PI partially protected mice from eCM; citrulline plus scavenging of superoxide with pegylated superoxide dismutase and pegylated catalase protected all recIPients from eCM. These findings indicate that ameliorating hypoargininemia with citrulline plus superoxide scavenging decreases eCM mortality.
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