Augmentation of ferulic acid-induced vasorelaxation with aging and its structure importance in thoracic aorta of spontaneously hypertensive rats
Ferulic acid is a simple phenolic acid commonly present in cereals. In this study, changes in heart and kidney structure and function were measured in young N(ω)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME)-treated Wistar rats and 10-month-old spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) alone and after chronic treatment with ferulic acid (FA; 50 mg·kg⁻¹·d⁻¹; n = 6-10; *P < 0.05). Systolic blood pressures were increased after L-NAME treatment (control 125 ± 2 mm Hg, L-NAME 205 ± 6* mm Hg after 8 weeks) and in SHR (250 ± 2 mm Hg; WKY 149 ± 4 mm Hg). Hypertensive rats developed left ventricular hypertrophy, increased ventricular diastolic stiffness (κ; Wistar, 21.4 ± 1.6; L-NAME, 30.1 ± 0.9*; WKYs, 24.1 ± 0.9; SHR 29.5 ± 0.7) and fibrosis of heart and kidneys. Treatment with ferulic acid reduced systolic blood pressure (L-NAME + FA, 157 ± 4*; SHR + FA 214 ± 8* mm Hg), reduced left ventricular diastolic stiffness (L-NAME + FA, 25.2 ± 0.5*; SHR + FA 26.3 ± 0.5*) and attenuated inflammatory cell infiltration, ferric iron accumulation, and collagen deposition in left ventricles and kidneys. Ferulic acid improved both endothelium-dependent relaxation in isolated thoracic aortic rings and antioxidant status by increasing superoxide dismutase and catalase activity in the heart and kidneys. FA decreased plasma liver enzyme activities and plasma creatinine concentrations. Thus, FA improved the structure and function of the heart, blood vessels, liver, and kidneys in hypertensive rats.