Fumarase catalyzes the interconversion of fumarate and L-malate in the tricarboxylic acid cycle. The Dahl salt-sensitive (SS) rat, a model of salt-sensitive hypertension, exhibits fumarase insufficiencies. To investigate the mechanism mediating the effect of fumarase-related metabolites on hypertension, we considered the pathway in which L-malate can be converted to oxaloacetate, aspartate, argininosuccinate, and L-arginine, the substrate of nitric oxide (NO) synthase. The levels of aspartate, citrulline, L-arginine, and NO were significantly decreased in the kidneys of SS rats compared to salt-insensitive consomic SS.13BN rats. Knockdown of fumarase in human kidney cells and vascular endothelial cells resulted in decreased levels of malate, aspartate, L-arginine, and NO. Supplementation of aspartate or malate increased renal levels of L-arginine and NO and attenuated hypertension in SS rats. These findings reveal a multi-step metabolic pathway important for hypertension in which malate and aspartate may modulate blood pressure by altering levels of L-arginine and NO.
Hou, E., Sun, N., Zhang, F., Zhao, C., Usa, K., Liang, M., & Tian, Z. (2017). Malate and Aspartate Increase L-Arginine and Nitric Oxide and Attenuate Hypertension. Cell Reports, 19(8), 1631–1639. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2017.04.071