Exercise and food supplement of vitamin C ameliorate hypertension through improvement of gut microflora in the spontaneously hypertensive rats

Ying Li, Salman Zafar, Rawya Mohamed Salih Ibrahim, Hong-Li Chi, Tong Xiao, Wen-Jie Xia, Hong-Bao Li, Yu-Ming Kang
Life Sciences 2021 January 19, : 119097

AIMS: Exercise and food supplement of vitamin C (VC) are beneficial to human health, especially for those who suffer from hypertension. Here we tend to explore if gut microflora is involved in the anti-hypertensive effects of exercise and VC-supplement therapies.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: With the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) model, the small intestine pathology and the fecal microbiota was analyzed along with the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (PICs and AICs) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the hypothalamus paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and intestine.

KEY FINDINGS: We found that both exercise and VC intake, individually or combined, were able to alleviate the blood pressure in the SHRs comparing to the normotensive control Wistar-kyoto (WKY) rats. The expression level of PICs in the PVN and intestine of the SHRs was down-regulated while the AICs were up-regulated after treatments, together with down-regulation of ROS in the PVN. At meantime, the gut pathology was dramatically improved in the SHRs with exercise training or VC intake. Analysis of the gut microflora revealed significant changes in their composition. Several important micro-organisms that were deficient in the SHRs were found up-regulated by the treatments, including Turicibacter and Romboutsia which are involved in the short-chain fatty acid production.

SIGNIFICANCE: Exercise training and VC intake individually can modify the gut microflora composition and improve the inflammatory state in both PVN and intestine, which contribute to their anti-hypertensive function. Combination of the two treatments enhanced their effects and worth to be considered as a non-medical aid for the hypertensive patients.

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