Beneficial Effects of Different Flavonoids on Vascular and Renal Function in L-NAME Hypertensive Rats

Nutrients. 2018 Apr 13;10(4):484. doi: 10.3390/nu10040484.


Background: we have evaluated the antihypertensive effect of several flavonoid extracts in a rat model of arterial hypertension caused by chronic administration (6 weeks) of the nitric oxide synthesis inhibitor, L-NAME.

Methods: Sprague Dawley rats received L-NAME alone or L-NAME plus flavonoid-rich vegetal extracts (Lemon, Grapefruit + Bitter Orange, and Cocoa) or purified flavonoids (Apigenin and Diosmin) for 6 weeks.

Results: L-NAME treatment resulted in a marked elevation of blood pressure, and treatment with Apigenin, Lemon Extract, and Grapefruit + Bitter Orange extracts significantly reduced the elevated blood pressure of these animals. Apigenin and some of these flavonoids also ameliorated nitric oxide-dependent and -independent aortic vasodilation and elevated nitrite urinary excretion. End-organ abnormalities such as cardiac infarcts, hyaline arteriopathy and fibrinoid necrosis in coronary arteries and aorta were improved by these treatments, reducing the end-organ vascular damage.

Conclusions: the flavonoids included in this study, specially apigenin, may be used as functional food ingredients with potential therapeutic benefit in arterial hypertension.

Keywords: acetylcholine; flavonoids; heart; kidney; nitric oxide; phenylephrine; sodium balance.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / chemistry
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Apigenin / administration & dosage
  • Apigenin / therapeutic use
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Hypertension / chemically induced*
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Male
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester / toxicity*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Apigenin
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester