The effects of helicobacter spp. on blood pressure in rat models of hypertension

Dinat, Sarhana
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Hypertension affects over one billion people globally and is believed to underlie multiple cardiovascular diseases, however the exact cause remains unknown. Helicobacter pylori has been implicated in hypertension. Studies associated high blood pressures with H. pylori prevalence and eradication was accompanied by significant decreases in blood pressure. This study assessed the effects of antibiotics targeting Helicobacter spp., and the effect of the human pathogen H. pylori on rat models of hypertension. To assess the effects of antibiotics, normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) and Spontaneously Hypertensive (SHR) rats were treated with either an antibiotic mix to select for or to eradicate Helicobacter spp. To assess the effects of H. pylori, SHR and WKY rats with Helicobacter spp. eradicated were inoculated with either H. pylori cultures or cell-free supernatants of H. pylori cultures. Systolic blood pressure was recorded throughout and after these processes. Selecting for Helicobacter spp. had no significant effect while eradicating Helicobacter spp. accompanied a significant decrease in systolic blood pressures of both SHR and WKY treated rats. A greater decrease in SHR was noted than in WKY, resulting in both strains reaching the same systolic blood pressure. Re infection with H. pylori resulted in increased systolic blood pressure. This was less than the decrease measured following eradication with antibiotics. No significant changes were noted upon treatment with cell-free supernatants. This suggests that Helicobacter spp., including H. pylori, affects blood pressure, although these bacteria do not influence blood pressure alone. Other microorganisms also targeted by the antibiotics used may also play a role
A dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Medicine to the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2021