Spice up the hypertension diet - curcumin and piperine prevent remodeling of aorta in experimental L-NAME induced hypertension

Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Oct 17:8:72. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-8-72.


Background: Increase of blood pressure is accompanied by functional and morphological changes in the vascular wall. The presented study explored the effects of curcuma and black pepper compounds on increased blood pressure and remodeling of aorta in the rat model of experimental NO-deficient hypertension.

Methods: Wistar rats were administered for 6 weeks clear water or L-NAME (40 mg/kg/day) dissolved in water, piperine (20 mg/kg/day), curcumin (100 mg/kg/day) or their combination in corn oil by oral gavage. The systolic blood pressure was measured weekly. Histological slices of thoracic aorta were stained with hematoxylin and eosin, Mallory's phosphotungstic acid hematoxylin (PTAH), orcein, picrosirius red and van Gieson staining and with antibodies against smooth muscle cells actin. Microscopic pictures were digitally processed and morphometrically evaluated.

Results: The increase of blood pressure caused by L-NAME was partially prevented by piperine and curcumin, but the effect of their combination was less significant. Animals with hypertension had increased wall thickness and cross-sectional area of the aorta, accompanied by relative increase of PTAH positive myofibrils and decrease of elastin, collagen and actin content. Piperine was able to decrease the content of myofibrils and slightly increase actin, while curcumin also prevented elastin decrease. The combination of spices had similar effects on aortic morphology as curcumin itself.

Conclusions: Administration of piperine or curcumin, less their combination, is able to partially prevent the increase of blood pressure caused by chronic L-NAME administration. The spices modify the remodeling of the wall of the aorta induced by hypertension. Our results show that independent administration of curcumin is more effective in preventing negative changes in blood vessel morphology accompanying hypertensive disease.