Original Article

International Journal of Obesity (2008) 32, 826–831; doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0803795; published online 15 January 2008

Obesity reduces the bioavailability of nitric oxide in juveniles

H-J Gruber1, C Mayer1, H Mangge1, G Fauler1, N Grandits1 and M Wilders-Truschnig1

1Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria

Correspondence: Dr H-J Gruber, Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 15, Graz 8036, Austria. E-mail: hans-juergen.gruber@klinikum-graz.at

Received 14 October 2007; Revised 15 November 2007; Accepted 18 November 2007; Published online 15 January 2008.





There is growing evidence that nitric oxide (NO) is critically involved in obesity and its clinical consequences like cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes. We hypothesize that NO is already involved in the pathophysiology of juvenile obesity. We here determined the role of NO, its metabolites arginine and citrulline in obese and normal weight children.



We investigated 57 obese and 57 normal weight age- and gender-matched juveniles. Various clinical parameters as well as body measurements and intima media thickness were determined.



Obese juveniles revealed highly significant alterations in the NO pathway. NOX and citrulline were decreased in obese compared to normal weight juveniles and negatively correlated with body weight. Arginine was increased in obese juveniles and positively correlated with body weight. We found a significant negative correlation between NOX and oxidized low-density lipoprotein. Analysis of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) revealed correlations with the NO pathway as NOX and citrulline were negatively correlated with GABA and arginine showed a positive correlation.



We show here that NO and its metabolites arginine and citrulline are already involved in juvenile obesity that may contribute to atherogenesis via reduced bioavailability of NO. Moreover, we identify GABA as a new parameter in the mechanism of obesity-related NO reduction.


nitric oxide, juveniles, GABA, citrulline, arginine

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