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The gut microbiota and blood pressure in experimental models

Jama, Hamdi A.a,b; Kaye, David M.a,c,d; Marques, Francine Z.a,e

Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension: March 2019 - Volume 28 - Issue 2 - p 97–104
doi: 10.1097/MNH.0000000000000476

Purpose of review To summarize evidence supporting that microorganisms colonizing our gastrointestinal tract, collectively known as the gut microbiota, are implicated in the development and maintenance of hypertension in experimental models.

Recent findings The use of gnotobiotic (germ-free) mice has been essential for advancement in this area: they develop higher blood pressure (BP) if they receive faecal transplants from hypertensive patients compared to normotensive donors, and germ-free mice have a blunted response to angiotensin II. Experimental hypertension is consistently accompanied by changes in the composition of the gut microbiota. This is combined with a shift in microbial diversity and the deterioration of the gut epithelial barrier commonly referred to as gut dysbiosis. Restoration of normal gut biosis and microbiota alleviates and protects against the development of hypertension in both genetic and pharmacological models. This has been achieved by the use of antibiotics, faecal transplants between normotensive and hypertensive strains, and the use of prebiotics (i.e. food stuff that feeds the microbiota), probiotics (i.e. live bacteria) and gut metabolites (i.e. short-chain fatty acids).

Summary Research into experimental hypertension supports that the gut microbiota contributes to the regulation of BP. Manipulation of the microbiota might represent a new tool to prevent hypertension.

aHeart Failure Research Group, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

bDepartment of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University

cCentral Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University

dHeart Centre, Alfred Hospital

eSchool of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence to Dr Francine Z. Marques, Hypertension Research Laboratory, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia. E-mail:

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