Ferulic acid-4-O-sulfate rather than ferulic acid relaxes arteries and lowers blood pressure in mice

Evelien Van Rymenant, John Van Camp, Bart Pauwels, Charlotte Boydens, Laura Vanden Daele, Katrijn Beerens, Peter Brouckaert, Guy Smagghe, Asimina Kerimi, Gary Williamson, Charlotte Grootaert, Johan Van de Voorde

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Consumption of foods rich in ferulic acid (FA) such as wholegrain cereals, or FA precursors such as chlorogenic acids in coffee, is inversely correlated with risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. As a result of digestion and phase II metabolism in the gut and liver, FA is converted predominantly into ferulic acid-4-O-sulfate (FA-sul), an abundant plasma metabolite. Although FA-sul is the main metabolite, very little has been reported regarding its bioactivities. We have compared the ex vivo vasorelaxing effect of FA and FA-sul (10−7–3.10−5 M) on isolated mouse arteries mounted in tissue myographs. FA-sul, but not FA, elicited a concentration-dependent vasorelaxation of saphenous and femoral arteries and aortae. The FA-sul-mediated vasorelaxation was blunted by 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one, a soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) inhibitor. The role of sGC was confirmed in femoral arteries isolated from sGCα1 (−/−) knockout mice. Furthermore, 4-aminopyridine, a specific inhibitor of voltage-dependent potassium channels, significantly decreased FA-sul-mediated effects. In anesthetized mice, intravenous injection of FA-sul decreased mean arterial pressure, whereas FA had no effect, confirming the results obtained ex vivo. FA-sul is probably one of the major metabolites accounting for the blood pressure-lowering effects associated with FA consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood pressure
  • Ferulic acid
  • Ferulic acid-4-O-sulfate
  • Mouse
  • Vasorelaxation

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