Long-term treatment with kefir probiotics ameliorates cardiac function in spontaneously hypertensive rats.


Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University. AL, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


This work evaluated the effects of long-term kefir treatment in cardiac function (cardiac contractility and calcium-handling proteins) and the central nervous system (CNS) control of the sympathetic signaling in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Male normotensive rats [Wistar Kyoto rats (WKYs)] and SHRs were divided into three groups: WKYs and SHRs treated with vehicle, and SHRs treated with milk fermented by the grains of kefir (5%; SHR-Kefir; oral gavage, 0.3 ml/100 g daily/9 weeks). At the end of treatment, mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) were measured by direct arterial catheterization. Hemodynamic parameters (left ventricular systolic pressure, left ventricular isovolumetric relaxation time constant, maximal and minimal pressure decay) were acquired through a left ventricular catheter implantation. Left ventricle protein expressions of phospholamban (PLB), its phosphorylated form (p-PLB) and sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA2a) were determined by Western blot. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) protein expression was evaluated via immunofluorescence within the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus and the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM). SHR-Kefir group presented lower MAP and HR compared to SHRs. Kefir treatment ameliorated cardiac hypertrophy and promoted reduced expression of PLB, p-PLB and SERCA2a contractile proteins. Within the PVN and RVML, TH protein overexpression observed in SHRs was reduced by probiotic treatment. In addition, kefir improved cardiac hemodynamic parameters in SHR-treated animals. Altogether, the data show that long-term kefir treatment reduced blood pressure by mechanisms involving reduction of cardiac hypertrophy, improvement of cardiac contractility and calcium-handling proteins, and reduction in the CNS regulation of the sympathetic activity.


Cardiac contractility,Cardiac hypertrophy,Hypertension,Probiotics,Sympathetic activity,