Antihypertensive activity of blueberries fermented by Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 15313 and effects on the gut microbiota in healthy rats

Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;34(4):719-26. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.08.009. Epub 2014 Aug 23.


Background & aims: The aim of the present animal study was to examine the anti-hypertensive capacity of two probiotic products combining blueberries and the tannase producing probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 15313 and to investigate if such an effect is linked to a change in the gut microbiota.

Methods: Male Sprague Dawley rats were randomly divided into six groups of nine each. Three groups of the animals were treated with N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) in the drinking water (40 mg/L) to induce a hypertensive state, and the other three groups were not treated with L-NAME (healthy rats). Two blueberry products differing in their phenolic acid content were tested and each rat received 2 g/day of the fermented blueberry powders for 4 weeks. The effects of the study products on the blood pressure, blood lipids, inflammatory markers, organ weights as well as caecal microbiota of the healthy (non-L-NAME-treated) rats were analyzed.

Results: After four weeks, healthy rats consuming freeze dried fermented blueberries with probiotics had a significant reduction in blood pressure compared to the control rats. In rats with L-NAME induced hypertension there was a significant reduction of the blood pressure after two weeks treatment. The probiotic product with a higher content of phenolic acids reduced ALAT in the healthy rats. Furthermore, ingestion of the probiotic blueberry products resulted in changes of the gut microbiota in the healthy rats.

Conclusions: Blueberries fermented with the tannase producing bacteria L. plantarum DSM 15313 have anti-hypertensive properties and may reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: Berries; Hypertension; L-NAME; Microbiota; Probiotics.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blueberry Plants / chemistry
  • Blueberry Plants / microbiology*
  • Body Weight
  • Fermentation
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Hypertension / chemically induced
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Lactobacillus plantarum / metabolism*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester / adverse effects
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Probiotics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Spleen / metabolism


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Plant Preparations
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester