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Micro-organisms residing in the gut (microbiota) may play a role in the development of high blood pressure, suggests new research.
This finding is "further evidence for the continued study of the microbiota in the development of hypertension in humans and supports a potential role for probiotics as treatment for hypertension," said the researchers.
"Manipulation of the gut microbiota may represent an innovative treatment for hypertension," said the study published in the journal Physiological Genomics.
For the study, James Nelson from Baylor College of Medicine in the US and his colleagues studied two sets of rats - one group with high blood pressure ("hypertensive") and one with normal blood pressure.
The research team removed a portion of the biological material from the large intestine of each group.
All animals were then given antibiotics for 10 days to reduce their natural microbiota.
After the course of antibiotics, the researchers transplanted hypertensive microbiota to normal blood pressure rats and normal microbiota to the hypertensive group.
The researchers found that the group treated with hypertensive microbiota developed elevated blood pressure.
With Inputs From IANS