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J Physiol Biochem. 2010 Dec;66(4):301-9. doi: 10.1007/s13105-010-0036-4. Epub 2010 Sep 24.

Perinatal L-arginine and antioxidant supplements reduce adult blood pressure but not ameliorate the altered vascular function in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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  • 1Departamento de Fisiologia e Farmacologia, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Av. Prof. Moraes Rêgo, Cidade Universitária, 50670-901, Recife, Brazil.


Spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) offspring from L-arginine- and antioxidant-supplemented SHR dams had persistent lower blood pressure in adulthood. We investigated the influence of vascular mechanism in this effect. We analyzed response to acetylcholine and phenylephrine in aorta and superior mesenteric arteries from Wistar-Kyoto (WKY), SHR, and SHR perinatally supplemented with L-arginine and 4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidinoxyl (TEMPOL; SHR-suppl). Supplements reduced blood pressure persistently in SHR. Relaxation to acetylcholine was greater in WKY than SHR and remained unmodified in SHR-suppl compared with SHR. Acute TEMPOL did not alter relaxation to acetylcholine in WKY but increased it similarly in SHR and SHR-suppl. Phenylephrine contraction was increased in SHR compared to WKY. In SHR-suppl, this response was similar to SHR. Endothelium removal or N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) increased contraction to phenylephrine more in WKY than SHR. In SHR-suppl, this was similar to SHR. In both SHR and SHR-suppl, TEMPOL similarly reduced phenylephrine response. This effect was prevented by L-NAME. Results exposed reinforce the concept that oxidative stress during perinatal period is a contributing factor to the development of hypertension in SHR. Results also reveal that the beneficial effect of this supplementation does not appear to be related to improved endothelial function, suggesting that other regulatory mechanisms of blood pressure may be involved.

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