Purpose: Serum nitric oxide (NO) reduction and increased endothelin-1 (ET-1) play a pivotal role in endothelial dysfunction and hypertension. Considering that traditional Mediterranean diet (TMD) reduces blood pressure (BP), the aim of this study was to analyze whether TMD induced changes on endothelial physiology elements such as NO, ET-1 and ET-1 receptors which are involved in BP control.
Methods: Non-smoking women with moderate hypertension were submitted for 1 year to interventions promoting adherence to the TMD, one supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and the other with nuts versus a control low-fat diet (30 participants/group). BP, NO, ET-1 and related gene expression as well as oxidative stress biomarkers were measured.
Results: Serum NO and systolic BP (SBP) or diastolic BP (DBP) were negatively associated at baseline, as well as between NO and ET-1. Our findings also showed a DBP reduction with both interventions. A negative correlation was observed between changes in NO metabolites concentration and SBP or DBP after the intervention with TMD + EVOO (p = 0.033 and p = 0.044, respectively). SBP reduction was related to an impairment of serum ET-1 concentrations after the intervention with TMD + nuts (p = 0.008). We also observed changes in eNOS, caveolin 2 and ET-1 receptors gene expression which are related to NO metabolites levels and BP.
Conclusions: The changes in NO and ET-1 as well as ET-1 receptors gene expression explain, at least partially, the effect of EVOO or nuts on lowering BP among hypertensive women.
Keywords: Endothelin-1; Hypertension; Nitric oxide; Oxidative stress; PREDIMED study.