PloS one

Probiotics (VSL#3) prevent endothelial dysfunction in rats with portal hypertension: role of the angiotensin system.

PMID 24832090


Portal hypertension characterized by generalized vasodilatation with endothelial dysfunction affecting nitric oxide (NO) and endothelium-dependent hyperpolarization (EDH) has been suggested to involve bacterial translocation and/or the angiotensin system. The possibility that ingestion of probiotics prevents endothelial dysfunction in rats following common bile duct ligation (CBDL) was evaluated. Rats received either control drinking water or the probiotic VSL#3 solution (50 billion body wt⁻¹.day⁻¹) for 7 weeks. After 3 weeks, rats underwent surgery with either resection of the common bile duct or sham surgery. The reactivity of mesenteric artery rings was assessed in organ chambers, expression of proteins by immunofluorescence and Western blot analysis, oxidative stress using dihydroethidium, and plasma pro-inflammatory cytokine levels by flow cytometry. Both NO- and EDH-mediated relaxations to acetylcholine were reduced in the CBDL group compared to the sham group, and associated with a reduced expression of Cx37, Cx40, Cx43, IKCa and SKCa and an increased expression of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). In aortic sections, increased expression of NADPH oxidase subunits, angiotensin converting enzyme, AT1 receptors and angiotensin II, and formation of ROS and peroxynitrite were observed. VSL#3 prevented the deleterious effect of CBDL on EDH-mediated relaxations, vascular expression of connexins, IKCa, SKCa and eNOS, oxidative stress, and the angiotensin system. VSL#3 prevented the CBDL-induced increased plasma TNF-α, IL-1α and MCP-1 levels. These findings indicate that VSL#3 ingestion prevents endothelial dysfunction in the mesenteric artery of CBDL rats, and this effect is associated with an improved vascular oxidative stress most likely by reducing bacterial translocation and the local angiotensin system.