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Am J Physiol. 1998 Aug;275(2):L283-7. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.1998.275.2.L283.

Garlic prevents hypoxic pulmonary hypertension in rats.

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Liver Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0007, USA.


Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction underlies the development of high-altitude pulmonary edema. Anecdotal observations suggest a beneficial effect of garlic in preventing high-altitude symptoms. To determine whether garlic influences pulmonary vasoconstriction, we assessed the effect of garlic on pulmonary pressures in rats subjected to alveolar hypoxia and on vasoconstriction in isolated pulmonary arterial rings. Garlic gavage (100 mg/kg body wt) for 5 days resulted in complete inhibition of acute hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction compared with the control group. No difference in mean arterial pressure or heart rate response to hypoxia was seen between the groups. Garlic solution resulted in a significant dose-dependent vasorelaxation in both endothelium-intact and mechanically endothelium-disrupted pulmonary arterial rings. The administration of NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor) inhibited the vasodilatory effect of garlic by 80%. These studies document that garlic blocks hypoxic pulmonary hypertension in vivo and demonstrate a combination of endothelium-dependent and -independent mechanisms for the effect in pulmonary arterial rings.

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