Puerarin is an isoflavonoid isolated from the root of Pueraria lobata (Gegen in Chinese) that has been widely used to treat cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases in China. Here, we investigated the hypotensive effects and mechanisms of puerarin in spontaneously hypertensive rats. The qPCR array technique was used to determine the expression of hypertension-related genes. Then, the differentially expressed genes were analyzed using the STRING database. The systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure of rats decreased after the administration of puerarin for nine weeks. Puerarin, but not losartan, also slowed the heart rate of rats. NO and cGMP levels were improved by puerarin. Eighteen differentially expressed hypertension-related genes were identified by comparing the model group with the control group and the high-dose puerarin group with the model group. NO and cGMP levels were increased by high-dose puerarin. High-dose puerarin increased the levels of the phosphorylated eNOS protein and decreased AT1 and Cav1 levels. Based on our results, eNOS was a key target in the mechanism by which puerarin reduced blood pressure, and puerarin represents a potential antihypertensive agent.
Keywords: Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase; Hypertension; Puerarin.