Hypertensive Microbiota May Cause High Blood Pressure

Alternating gut microbiota in mice causes hypertension.

Too much bad bacteria in the microbiota of rats plays a role in the development of hypertension, according to a study published in Physiological Genomics.

Prior studies show a link between gut dysbiosis and cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension. The investigators hypothesized that hypertension could be induced in a strain of rats with normal blood pressure, or weakened in a strain of rats with high blood pressure, by exchanging the gut microbiota between the 2 strains.

The study rats were divided into 2 groups based on blood pressure: hypertensive and normal blood pressure. A proportion of biological material was removed from the large intestine of each group.

All of the rodents were administered antibiotics for 10 days to reduce their natural microbiota. After the antibiotics, the investigators transplanted hypertensive microbiota into rats with normal blood pressure and normal microbiota into the hypertensive group.

The results of the study showed that the group treated with hypertensive microbiota developed elevated blood pressure, whereas the rats treated with normal microbiota did not have a significant drop in blood pressure. However, the readings did decrease slightly, according to the investigators.

The findings provide “further evidence for the continued study of the microbiota in the development of hypertension in humans and supports a potential role for probiotics as treatment for hypertension,” the authors wrote. “Studies showing that supplementing the diet with probiotics can have modest effects on blood pressure, especially in hypertensive models.”