Impact of arginine nutrition and metabolism during pregnancy on offspring outcomes

Chien Ning Hsu, You Lin Tain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


By serving as a precursor for the synthesis of nitric oxide, polyamines, and other molecules with biological importance, arginine plays a key role in pregnancy and fetal development. Arginine supplementation is a potential therapy for treating many human diseases. An impaired arginine metabolic pathway during gestation might produce long-term morphological or functional changes in the offspring, namely, developmental programming to increase vulnerability to developing a variety of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in later life. In contrast, reprogramming is a strategy that shifts therapeutic interventions from adulthood to early-life, in order to reverse the programming processes, which might counterbalance the rising epidemic of NCDs. This review presented the role of arginine synthesis and metabolism in pregnancy. We also provided evidence for the links between an impaired arginine metabolic pathway and the pathogenesis of compromised pregnancy and fetal programming. This was followed by reprogramming strategies targeting the arginine metabolic pathway, to prevent the developmental programming of NCDs. Despite emerging evidence from experimental studies showing that targeting the arginine metabolic pathway has promise as a reprogramming strategy in pregnancy to prevent NCDs in the offspring, these results need further clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1452
Issue number7
StatePublished - 07 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Arginine
  • Asymmetric dimethylarginine
  • Citrulline
  • Developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD)
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamine
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pregnancy


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