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Argan (Argania spinosa) oil lowers blood pressure and improves endothelial dysfunction in spontaneously hypertensive rats

  • Hicham Berrougui (a1), Maria Alvarez de Sotomayor (a2), Concepción Pérez-Guerrero (a2), Abdelkader Ettaib (a1), Mohamed Hmamouchi (a1), Elisa Marhuenda (a2) and Maria Dolores Herrera (a2)...

Abstract

Traditionally hand-pressed argan oil, obtained from Argania spinosa seeds, is eaten raw in south-west Morocco; its rich composition of tocopherols, MUFA and PUFA make a study of its actions on risk factors for CVD, such as hypertension, interesting. The effects of 7 weeks of treatment with argan oil (10ml/kg) on the blood pressure and endothelial function of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and normotensive Wistar–Kyoto rats were investigated. Systolic blood pressure and heart rate were measured every week by the tail-cuff method and endothelial function was assessed by carbachol (10−8 to 10−4m)-induced relaxations of aortic rings and small mesenteric arteries pre-contracted with phenylephrine. Argan-oil administration reduced the mean blood pressure of SHR after the fifth week of treatment (P<0·05) and increased (P<0·01) the endothelial responses of arteries from SHR. The NO synthase inhibitor, l-N-ω-nitroarginine (3×10−5m) revealed a greater participation of NO in the relaxant effect after the treatment. When cyclooxygenase (COX) was blocked with indomethacin (10−5m), an involvement of COX products in the endothelium-dependent response was characterized. Enzyme immunoassay of thromboxane B2 showed a significant decrease (P<0·05) in the release of thromboxane A2 in both aorta and small mesenteric artery after argan-oil treatment of SHR. Experiments in the presence of the thromboxane A2–prostaglandin H2 receptor antagonist ICI 192, 605 (10−5m) confirmed this result. Results after incubation with the antioxidants superoxide dismutase and catalase suggested that a decreased oxidative stress might contribute to explain the beneficial effects of argan-oil treatment.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr Maria Alvarez de Sotomayor, fax +34 54233765, email,aldesoto@us.es

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