Tetrahydrobiopterin supplementation enhances carotid artery compliance in healthy older men: a pilot study

Am J Hypertens. 2012 Oct;25(10):1050-4. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2012.70. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

Abstract

Background: We performed a pilot study to test the hypothesis that acute oral ingestion of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH(4)), a key cofactor modulating vascular nitric oxide (NO) synthase activity, improves large elastic artery stiffness with aging in men.

Methods: Healthy older (63 ± 2 years; n = 8) and young (age 25 ± 1 years; n = 6) men were studied 3 h after ingestion of BH(4) (10 mg·kg(-1) body weight) or placebo on separate days in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study.

Results: Baseline carotid artery compliance was 37% lower (0.17 ± 0.02 vs. 0.22 ± 0.02 mm/mm Hg·10(-1)) and β-stiffness was 42% higher (7.3 ± 1.1 vs. 4.2 ± 0.5 AU) in the older men (both P < 0.05). BH(4) ingestion markedly increased circulating BH(4) concentrations in both groups (17-19-fold, P < 0.05), but increased compliance (+39% to 0.23 ± 0.02 mm/mm Hg·10(-1), P < 0.01) and decreased β-stiffness index (-27% to 5.3 ± 0.7 AU, P < 0.01) only in the older men. BH(4) also reduced carotid systolic blood pressure (SBP) in the older men (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: These preliminary results support the possibility that limited BH(4) bioavailability contributes to impaired carotid artery compliance in healthy older men. Further studies are needed to determine if increasing BH(4) bioavailability though oral BH(4) supplementation may have therapeutic efficacy for improving large elastic artery compliance and reducing central SBP with aging.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopterin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Biopterin / pharmacology
  • Carotid Arteries / drug effects
  • Carotid Arteries / physiology*
  • Compliance / drug effects
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Vascular Stiffness / drug effects

Substances

  • Biopterin
  • sapropterin