"You are what you eat," as the proverb goes. But to a large extent our well-being also depends on what bacterial guests in our digestive tract consume. That's because gut flora help the human body to utilize food and produce essential micronutrients, including vitamins.
Beneficial gut microbes can produce metabolites from dietary fiber, including a fatty acid called propionate. This substance protects against the harmful consequences of high blood pressure. A Berlin research team from the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC), a joint institution of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin, shows why this is the case. Their study has been published in advance online in the journal Circulation.
Researchers - Propionate - Blood - Pressure - Afterwards
The researchers fed propionate to mice with elevated blood pressure. Afterwards, the animals had less pronounced damage to the heart or abnormal enlargement of the organ, making them less susceptible to cardiac arrhythmia. Vascular damage, such as atherosclerosis, also decreased in mice. "Propionate works against a range of impairments in cardiovascular function caused by high blood pressure," says MDC researcher and research group leader Professor Dominik N. Müller. "This may be a promising treatment option, particularly for patients who have too little of this fatty acid."
"Our study made it clear that the substance takes a detour via the immune system and thus affects the heart and blood vessels," say Dr. Nicola Wilck and Hendrik Bartolomaeus from the ECRC, who have been working together on the project for nearly five years. In particular, T helper cells, which enhance inflammatory processes and contribute to high blood pressure, were calmed.
Effect - Ability - Heart - Example - Research
This has a direct effect on the functional ability of the heart, for example. The research team triggered heart arrhythmia in 70 percent of the untreated mice through targeted electrical stimuli. However, only one-fifth of...
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