How dietary fiber and gut bacteria protect the cardiovascular system

Typically the fatty acid propionate helps prevent the effects of high blood pressure, including atherosclerosis and heart tissues remodeling, a study on mice finds. Gut bacterias produce the substance — which calms the immune system cells that drive upwards blood pressure — from natural dietary fiber.

“You are what you eat, ” as the saying goes. But to a sizable extent our well-being also is determined by what bacterial friends inside our digestive tract take in. That’s because gut botánica help the body to utilize food and produce essential micronutrients, including vitamin supplements.

Beneficial gut microbes can produce metabolites from diet fiber, including a essential fatty acid called propionate. This compound protects against the dangerous consequences of high blood pressure. A Berlin research team from the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC), a joint institution of the Max Delbrück Middle for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin, shows why this is the case. Their own study has been released ahead of time online in the journal Circulation.

The experts fed propionate to rodents with elevated blood pressure. Afterwards, the animals experienced less pronounced damage to the heart or irregular enlargement of the body organ, making them less vulnerable to cardiac arrhythmia. Vascular damage, such as atherosclerosis, also decreased in rodents. “Propionate works against a range of impairments in cardiovascular function caused by high blood pressure, inch states MDC researcher and research group leader Teacher Dominik N. Müller. “This may be a encouraging treatment option, particularly for patients who have not enough of this fatty acidity. ”

Detour via the immune system

“Our research made it clear that the substance takes a detour with the immune system and therefore impacts the center and blood vessels, ” say Dr. Nicola Wilck and Hendrik Bartolomaeus from the ECRC, who have already been working together on the project for almost 5 years. In particular, To helper cells, which improve inflammatory processes and give rise to high blood pressure, were calmed.

This has a immediate effect on the practical ability of the coronary heart, for example. The research team triggered heart arrhythmia in 70 % of the untreated mice through targeted electrical stimuli. Nevertheless, only one-fifth of the animals treated with the greasy acid were vunerable to an irregular heartbeat. Further research with ultrasound, tissue areas, and single-cell analyses demonstrated that propionate also reduced blood pressure-related harm to the animals’ cardiovascular system, significantly increasing their survival rate.

But when researchers deactivated a certain T cellular subtype in the mice’s bodies, known as regulatory T cells, the positive effects of propionate vanished. The immune cells are therefore indispensable for the substance’s beneficial effect. The research group under Johannes Stegbauer, an adjunct teacher at Düsseldorf University Medical center, confirmed the team’s results in a second pet model.

Short-chain fatty acidity as a therapeutic option

The results clarify why a diet rich in fiber, which has recently been recommended by nutrition organizations for quite some time, helps prevent aerobic diseases. Whole-grain companies fruit, for example, contain cellulose and inulin fibers, from where gut bacteria produce the beneficial molecules like propionate, a short-chain fatty acid solution with a backbone of just three carbon atoms.

“Previously, it had not been clear which oily acid is behind the positive effects and how functions, ” claims Wilck. The analysis opens up new avenues in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. “It might create sense to provide propionate or a substance precursor directly as a drug” — for example, when the blood of the people afflicted contains too little of the substance.

Propionate keeps having to prove itself in everyday clinical practice. The investigation team now desires to validate their conclusions by examining the substance’s effects on human subject matter. It is already known that propionate is secure for human consumption and can even be produced economically: The compound has been used for centuries as a additive, for example. It is already approved as a food additive. “With these favorable conditions, hopefully propionate will soon make step from the lab to patients who need it, ” claims Wilck.

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