In a recent article published in Clinical Nutrition, scientists from Texas investigated the anabolic potential of arginine, independent of NO-related mechanisms. Using a burn model of injury in rabbits, the researchers found that arginine supplements significantly increased net protein balance and recovery in skin and skeletal muscle compared to animals that received an amino acid mixture of equal nitrogen content. The authors concluded that arginine produces true anabolic effects that act by stimulating the transport of amino acids into injured tissues (i.e., those in a catabolic state), leading to increased amino acid availability for protein synthesis.
Zhang XJ, Chinkes DL, Wolfe RR. The anabolic effect of arginine on proteins in skin wound and muscle is independent of nitric oxide production. Clin Nutr. 2008 Aug;27(4):649-56.