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Antioxidants Lower Hypertension in Rats
30 June 2003
by Wyn Snow, Managing Editor

Venezuelan researchers at the Universidad del Zulia in Maracaibo examined the relationship between kidney function and high blood pressure when hypertensive rats are fed a diet rich in antioxidants.

Rats in three experimental groups were a strain that spontaneously develops high blood pressure. The control group rats were normal. For seven months after birth, the four groups were fed as follows:

  1. Experimental, regular diet
  2. Experimental, test diet throughout
  3. Experimental, test diet for four months, then regular diet
  4. Normal control, regular diet

The test diet was enriched with vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc and selenium.

Rats on the test diet (group 2) as compared to the normal diet (group 1) displayed "significant reduction in systolic blood pressure and plasma hydrogen peroxide concentration, together with significant reductions of renal tissue nitrotyrosine abundance, tubulointerstitial infiltration, macrophages, and angiotensin II-positive cells." The significance levels ranged from P<0.01 to P<0.001.

Also, kidney function indicators were significantly correlated with systolic blood pressure. And results for group 3, which received the test diet for the first four months only, were intermediate between groups 1 and 2.

The study indicates that a diet high in antioxidants has simultaneous effects on reducing inflammation of renal tissue and in lowering blood pressure in rats that are genetically disposed to develop hypertension. The authors conclude their study suggests an "interrelation between oxidative stress and inflammatory reactivity in the pathogenesis of hypertension."


B. Rodriguez-Iturbe et al. Abstract of "Antioxidant-rich diet relieves hypertension and reduces renal immune infiltration in spontaneously hypertensive rats." Hypertension, Vol 41, No 2, pages 341-6, February 2003. In PubMed: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&


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