Changes in Gut Microbiota Linked to a Reduction in Systolic Blood Pressure in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats Fed an Extra Virgin Olive Oil-Enriched Diet

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2018 Mar;73(1):1-6. doi: 10.1007/s11130-017-0650-1.


Fat type in diet is responsible for specific changes in gut microbiota (GM). Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has been shown to be beneficial for blood pressure and to produce effects on GM. To analyze the cause-effect relationship between intestinal microbial changes and blood pressure, we studied the effect of EVOO on fecal microbiota and systolic blood pressure (SBP) levels in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). SHR were fed either an enriched EVOO diet or a standard diet for a period of 12 weeks. At the end of the experimental period, the microbial profiles in the feces were studied in both groups by using PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Real-time PCR was used to quantify the selected bacterial groups. The results demonstrated significant differences when using Lactobacillus (p<0.05), clostridia XIV (p<0.01) and universal (p<0.05) primers. A significant (r=-0.475; p=0.04) inverse correlation between the abundance of clostridia XIV and SBP, which depends on the type of diet, was also observed. Finally, the results suggested an increase in the microbial diversity of the feces of the animals fed the EVOO diet. These results strongly connect the pattern of GM in SHR fed a diet enriched with EVOO to the lower levels of SBP observed in these animals at the end of the feeding period.

Keywords: Extra virgin olive oil; Feces; Gut microbiota; Hypertension.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / genetics
  • Lactobacillus / drug effects
  • Male
  • Olive Oil / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Rats, Inbred SHR


  • Olive Oil
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S