The cardiovascular effects of Aspalathus linearis supplementation in male Wistar rats receiving fixed-dose combination first-line antiretroviral therapy.


Division of Medical Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa. Email: [Email]


HIV-infected populations receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The beneficial cardiovascular effects of rooibos are well described; however, it is unknown whether rooibos ameliorates harmful ART-induced cardiovascular side effects. We investigated the cardiometabolic effects of rooibos co-treatment in rats receiving ART (efavirenz, emtricitabine, tenofovir) for nine weeks. Rooibos treatment reduced total cholesterol levels; however, triglyceride, phospholipid and thiobarbituric acidreactive substance levels were unaffected by ART, rooibos or combination treatment. In isolated hearts exposed to ischaemia-reperfusion injury, ART resulted in increased infarct sizes compared to controls, which was not observed when co-treated with rooibos. Vascular studies showed reduced aortic relaxation with ART, and improved relaxation when co-treated with rooibos. In conclusion, we show that rooibos treatment reduced total cholesterol levels in control rats, and that rooibos co-treatment ameliorated the harmful ART-induced cardiovascular effects. These findings are novel and warrant further studies into underlying mechanisms and clinical relevance.


Aspalathus linearis, HIV, antiretrovirals, cardiovascular, vascular reactivity,

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