Emerging evidence suggests that gut microbiota is critical in the maintenance of physiological homeostasis. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that dysbiosis in gut microbiota is associated with hypertension because genetic, environmental, and dietary factors profoundly influence both gut microbiota and blood pressure. Bacterial DNA from fecal samples of 2 rat models of hypertension and a small cohort of patients was used for bacterial genomic analysis. We observed a significant decrease in microbial richness, diversity, and evenness in the spontaneously hypertensive rat, in addition to an increased Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio. These changes were accompanied by decreases in acetate- and butyrate-producing bacteria. In addition, the microbiota of a small cohort of human hypertensive patients was found to follow a similar dysbiotic pattern, as it was less rich and diverse than that of control subjects. Similar changes in gut microbiota were observed in the chronic angiotensin II infusion rat model, most notably decreased microbial richness and an increased Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio. In this model, we evaluated the efficacy of oral minocycline in restoring gut microbiota. In addition to attenuating high blood pressure, minocycline was able to rebalance the dysbiotic hypertension gut microbiota by reducing the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio. These observations demonstrate that high blood pressure is associated with gut microbiota dysbiosis, both in animal and human hypertension. They suggest that dietary intervention to correct gut microbiota could be an innovative nutritional therapeutic strategy for hypertension.
Keywords: butyrates; dysbiosis; hypertension; microbiota; minocycline.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.