Oxidative stress is a key mediator in the maintenance of sympathoexcitation and hypertension in human and experimental models. Green tea is widely known to be potent antioxidant.
We aimed to evaluate the effects of green tea in a model of hypertension.
Hypertension was induced by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor [N-nitro-L-arginine-methyl-ester (L-NAME); 20 mg/kg per day, orally, for 2 weeks] in male Wistar rats. After the first week of L-NAME treatment, animals received green tea ad libitum for 1 week. At the end of the treatment period, blood pressure, heart rate, baroreflex sensitivity, renal sympathetic nerve activity, and vascular and systemic oxidative stress were assessed.
L-NAME-treated animals exhibited an increase in blood pressure (165 ± 2 mmHg) compared with control rats (103 ± 1 mmHg) and green tea treatment reduced hypertension (119 ± 1 mmHg). Hypertensive animals showed a higher renal sympathetic nerve activity (161 ± 12 spikes/s) than the control group (97 ± 2 spikes/s), and green tea also decreased this parameter in the hypertensive treated group (125 ± 5 spikes/s). Arterial baroreceptor function and vascular and systemic oxidative stress were improved in hypertensive rats after green tea treatment.
Taken together, short-term green tea treatment improved cardiovascular function in a hypertension model characterized by sympathoexcitation, which may be because of its antioxidant properties.