Blood pressure lowering effect of a pea protein hydrolysate in hypertensive rats and humans

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Sep 28;59(18):9854-60. doi: 10.1021/jf201911p. Epub 2011 Sep 2.


The blood pressure lowering effect of a pea protein hydrolysate (PPH) that contained <3 kDa peptides, isolated by membrane ultrafiltration from the thermolysin digest of pea protein isolate (PPI), was examined using different rat models of hypertension as well as hypertensive human subjects. The PPH showed weak in vitro activities against renin and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) with inhibitory activities of 17 and 19%, respectively, at 1 mg/mL test concentration. Oral administration of the PPH to spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) at doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg body weight led to a lowering of hourly systolic blood pressure (SBP), with a maximum reduction of 19 mmHg at 4 h. In contrast, orally administered unhydrolyzed PPI had no blood pressure reducing effect in SHR, suggesting that thermolysin hydrolysis may have been responsible for releasing bioactive peptides from the native protein. Oral administration of the PPH to the Han:SPRD-cy rat (a model of chronic kidney disease) over an 8-week period led to 29 and 25 mmHg reductions in SBP and diastolic blood pressure, respectively. The PPH-fed rats had lower plasma levels of angiotensin II, the major vasopressor involved in development of hypertension, but there was no effect on plasma activity or renal mRNA levels of ACE. However, renal expression of renin mRNA levels was reduced by approximately 50% in the PPH-fed rats, suggesting that reduced renin may be responsible for the reduced levels of angiotensin II. In a 3-week randomized double blind placebo-controlled crossover human intervention trial (7 volunteers), significant (p<0.05) reductions (over placebo) in SBP of 5 and 6 mmHg were obtained in the second and third weeks, respectively, for the PPH group. Therefore, thermolysin derived bioactive peptides from PPH reduced blood pressure in hypertensive rats and human subjects, likely via effects on the renal angiotensin system.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pisum sativum / chemistry*
  • Placebos
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Polycystic Kidney Diseases
  • Protein Hydrolysates / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Renin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Thermolysin / metabolism


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Placebos
  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Hydrolysates
  • Renin
  • Thermolysin