July 14, 2024

Antibiotic Reduces Organ Damage Caused by High Blood Pressure, Study Finds

A recent study has shown that an antibiotic used to alter gut bacteria in rats can lessen the damage to the heart and kidneys caused by hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Hypertension affects approximately 1.28 billion adults worldwide and is a leading cause of death globally. While the condition is commonly associated with cardiac issues such as heart attack and stroke, it can also lead to serious kidney damage, making it the second leading cause of kidney failure in the United States after diabetes.

In an attempt to mitigate the impact of hypertension on the kidneys, researchers turned their attention to the gut microbiota. They treated the guts of hypertensive rats with two types of antibiotics: polymyxin B, which targets Gram-negative bacteria, and vancomycin, which is effective against Gram-positive bacteria. The researchers found that polymyxin B had no impact on hypertension-induced inflammation in the kidneys, but vancomycin showed significant results in reducing inflammation.

Moreover, vancomycin also decreased the incidence of hypertension-related hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition characterized by thickening of the heart muscle which impairs its ability to pump blood effectively. Surprisingly, neither antibiotic had an effect on blood pressure. However, this finding was considered positive by the research team.

Moritz Immanuel Wimmer of Charité – Universitätsmediz in Berlin, co-author of the study, stated, “Our study shows that modifying the gut microbiota, in this case by oral administration of nonabsorbable antibiotics in a rat model, can ameliorate hypertensive kidney damage and inflammation, independent of blood pressure. In the future, we would like to achieve such effects without antibiotics. We also aim to further understand and harness the underlying mechanisms for the kidney protective effects we observed.”

This study adds to the growing body of research that supports the link between gut microbiota and various health benefits and issues, including muscle injury healing, longevity, depression, childhood allergies, and more. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms at play, this study provides valuable insights into potential interventions for reducing organ damage caused by hypertension.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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