Resveratrol’s blood pressure benefits may pass from mother to child

Image © iStockPhoto / makaule
Image © iStockPhoto / makaule

Related tags Hypertension Blood pressure

Hereditary hypertension may not pass the generations if the mother is given resveratrol supplements during pregnancy, suggests a new study with lab rats.

Offspring of spontaneously hypertensive rats were found to be protected from elevated blood pressure once they reached adulthood if their mothers had received resveratrol supplementation during pregnancy.

“Maternal perinatal resveratrol supplementation prevented the onset of hypertension in adult offspring (−18 mm Hg), and nitric oxide synthase inhibition normalized these blood pressure differences, suggesting improved nitric oxide bioavailability underlies the hemodynamic alterations,” ​wrote the researchers in the journal Hypertension​.

Heart health

Resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, is often touted as the bioactive compound in grapes and red wine, and has been associated with the so-called 'French Paradox': The phrase was coined in 1992 by Dr Serge Renaud from Bordeaux University to describe the low incidence of heart disease and obesity among the French, despite their relatively high-fat diet and levels of wine consumption.

Because of this link, the majority of studies on resveratrol have focused on the compound’s potential cardiovascular benefits. However, other studies with resveratrol have reported potential anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s.

A recent study from China reported that the potential cardiovascular benefits of resveratrol may also be linked to its ability to preferentially alter the gut microbiome​.

Study details

blood flow
Image © iStockPhoto

The new study, performed by scientists from the University of Alberta (Canada) and the University of Adelaide (Australia), supplemented the diets of spontaneously hypertensive female rats with 0 or 4 g/kg diet of resveratrol from gestational day 0.5 until postnatal day 21. The offspring of these rats were then followed to adulthood.

Results showed that the adult offspring had significantly lower blood pressure than their mothers.

Additional tests indicated that the potential blood pressure lowering activity observed in the resveratrol-fed animals was not linked to nitric oxide

The researchers also looked at the conversion of the potent vasoconstrictor protein called endothelin-1 to its active form, and found that this was reduced by almost 30% in the resveratrol offspring.

“Perinatal maternal Resv supplementation mitigated the development of hypertension and causes persistent alterations in vascular responsiveness in spontaneously hypertensive rats,” ​concluded the researchers.

Source: Hypertension
Volume 67, Pages 1038-1044, doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.115.06793
“Perinatal Resveratrol Supplementation to Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat Dams Mitigates the Development of Hypertension in Adult Offspring”
Authors: A.S. Care, et al. 

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