Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Acetate Supplementation Prevent Hypertension in a Model of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Hypertension. 2018 Nov;72(5):1141-1150. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.11695.


Disruption of the gut microbiota, termed gut dysbiosis, has been described in animal models of hypertension and hypertensive patients. We have shown that gut dysbiosis plays a causal role in the development of hypertension in a rat model of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Functional analysis of the dysbiotic microbiota in OSA demonstrates a loss of short chain fatty acid-producing bacteria. However, measurements of short chain fatty acid concentrations and testing of their role in blood pressure regulation are lacking. We hypothesized that reduced short chain fatty acids in the gut are responsible for OSA-induced hypertension. OSA significantly increased systolic blood pressure at 7 and 14 days ( P<0.05), an effect that was abolished by the probiotic Clostridium butyricum or the prebiotic Hylon VII. The 16S rRNA analysis identified several short chain fatty acid-producing bacteria that were significantly increased by Cbutyricum and Hylon treatment. Acetate concentration in the cecum was decreased by 48% after OSA ( P<0.05), an effect that was prevented by Cbutyricum and Hylon. Cbutyricum and Hylon reduced OSA-induced dysbiosis, epithelial goblet cell loss, mucus barrier thinning, and activation of brain microglia ( P<0.05 for each). To examine the role of acetate in OSA-induced hypertension, we chronically infused acetate into the cecum during 2 weeks of sham or OSA. Restoring cecal acetate concentration prevented OSA-induced gut inflammation and hypertension ( P<0.05). These studies identify acetate as a key player in OSA-induced hypertension. We demonstrate that various methods to increase cecal acetate concentrations are protective from the adverse effects of OSA on the microbiota, gut, brain, and blood pressure.

Keywords: acetates; blood pressure; cecum; dysbiosis; hypertension; microbiota; obstructive sleep apnea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Prebiotics*
  • Probiotics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*


  • Acetates
  • Prebiotics