Almost half of the U.S. adult population has high blood pressure—or hypertension—and about 20% of these patients have treatment-resistant hypertension.
The reason why some people are resistant to treatment has been a mystery.
Scientists from the University of Toledo found that a certain gut bacterium may be an important factor.
The research was presented at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2022 meeting and was conducted by Tao Yang et al.
Research has shown that the microorganisms in our gut—collectively known as the gut microbiota—contain a variety of enzymes that can affect drug metabolism.
A better understanding of the link between gut microbes and drug efficacy could lead to new treatment approaches for people who don’t respond to blood pressure medication.
In the study, the team aimed to find out if gut microbiota might play a role in resistance to blood pressure medicine.
They examined the gut microbes of rats, and they discovered that a bacteria known as Coprococcus comes (C. comes) contributes to resistance to ACE inhibitors, one of the primary drug classes used to treat high blood pressure.
The team administered a single dose of the ACE inhibitor quinapril to rats with high blood pressure.
They found that quinapril was more effective at lowering blood pressure in hypertensive rats with a lower gut microbiota load. When they analyzed the composition of the gut microbiota, C. comes emerged as an important player.
Through additional experiments, the researchers found that C. comes can actually break down quinapril.
They also found that giving C. comes and quinapril to rats reduced blood pressure less than administering quinapril alone.
These current findings suggest that the same drug may not be appropriate for everyone because each person has a unique gut microbial composition with a unique profile of enzymatic activities.
The researchers are now checking other types of gut bacteria and additional blood pressure medications to see how the gut microbiota modulates the effectiveness of high blood pressure drugs.
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