Arginine metabolomics in mood disorders

Angelo Zinellu, Sara Tommasi, Stefania Sedda, Arduino A. Mangoni

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Alterations of nitric oxide (NO) homeostasis have been described in mood disorders. However, the analytical challenges associated with the direct measurement of NO have prompted the search for alternative biomarkers of NO synthesis. We investigated the published evidence of the association between these alternative biomarkers and mood disorders (depressive disorder or bipolar disorder). Electronic databases were searched from inception to the June 30, 2023. In 20 studies, there was a trend towards significantly higher asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) in mood disorders vs. controls (p = 0.072), and non-significant differences in arginine (p = 0.29), citrulline (p = 0.35), symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA; p = 0.23), and ornithine (p = 0.42). In subgroup analyses, the SMD for ADMA was significant in bipolar disorder (p < 0.001) and European studies (p = 0.02), the SMDs for SDMA (p = 0.001) and citrulline (p = 0.038) in European studies, and the SMD for ornithine in bipolar disorder (p = 0.007), Asian (p = 0.001) and American studies (p = 0.005), and patients treated with antidepressants (p = 0.029). The abnormal concentrations of ADMA, SDMA, citrulline, and ornithine in subgroups of mood disorders, particularly bipolar disorder, warrant further research to unravel their pathophysiological role and identify novel treatments in this group (The protocol was registered in PROSPERO: CRD42023445962)

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27292
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Early online date14 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2024


  • ADMA
  • Arginine
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Citrulline
  • Mood disorder
  • NO
  • Ornithine
  • SDMA


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