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J Inorg Biochem. 2008 Jul;102(7):1541-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2008.02.004. Epub 2008 Feb 23.

Blood pressure lowering effects of niacin-bound chromium(III) (NBC) in sucrose-fed rats: renin-angiotensin system.

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Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing, MI 48824-136, USA.


Excessive intake of sugars significantly elevates systolic blood pressure (SBP) in susceptible rats. Although the exact pathological mechanisms behind sugar-induced hypertension are uncertain and may be multiple, disturbances in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) manifested by elevated circulating levels of angiotensin-2 may be involved. We attempted to confirm that the RAS was significantly involved in sugar-induced BP elevations and examined whether the ability of niacin-bound chromium (NBC) to ameliorate sugar-induced SBP elevations was due, at least in part, through effects on the RAS. Initially, 40 mature Sprague-Dawley rats (SD), male and female, were involved in the study comparing two methods to estimate rat blood pressure indirectly. Then 13 were selected to examine the effects of NBC on the RAS. All rats eventually ingested a diet heavy in sucrose (30%w/w). In addition to blood pressure readings, the following procedures were implemented: insulin and losartan challenges, evaluation of serum ACE activity, measurement of serum angiotensin-2 levels, blood chemistries, and LNAME challenge. While dietary sucrose raised SBP significantly in control, adding NBC to the treatment group lowered it back toward baseline. The treatment group was more sensitive to exogenous insulin challenge and showed decreased activity of the RAS estimated by less lowering of SBP after losartan challenge, decreased serum ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) activity, and lower levels of circulating angiotensin-2. The former two parameters showed statistical significance; and the latter, a trend toward statistical significance. A separate group receiving captopril served as a positive control and showed decreased ACE activity and circulating levels of angiotensin-2 compared to the control group. Our data suggest that the RAS plays a significant role in sugar-induced hypertension and that NBC lowers SBP, at least in part, via actions on the RAS. Other findings suggest that the NO system is important in sucrose-induced BP elevations as well.

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