The effect of diet on hypertensive pathology: is there a link via gut microbiota-driven immune-metabolism?

Hamdi Ahmed Jama, Anna Louise Beale, Waled Shihata, Francine Z. Marques

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56 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decade, the immune system has emerged as an important component in the aetiology of hypertension. There has been a blooming interest in the contribution of the gut microbiota, the microbes that inhabit our small and large intestine, to blood pressure (BP) regulation. The gastrointestinal tract houses the largest number of immune cells in our body, thus, it is no surprise that its microbiota plays an important functional role in the appropriate development of the immune system through a co-ordinated sequence of events leading to immune tolerance of commensal bacteria. Importantly, recent evidence supports that the gut microbiota can protect or promote the development of experimental hypertension and is likely to have a role in human hypertension. One of the major modulators of the gut microbiota is diet: diets that emphasize high intake of fermentable fibre, such as the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, promote expansion of protective microbes that release gut metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids, which are immune-, BP-, and cardio-protective, likely acting through G-coupled protein receptors. In contrast, diets lacking fibre or high in salt and fat, such as the Western diet, reduce prevalence of commensal microbial species and support a pathogenic and pro-inflammatory environment, including the release of the pro-atherosclerotic trimethylamine N-oxide. Here, we review the current understanding of the gut microbiota-driven immune dysfunction in both experimental and clinical hypertension, and how these changes may be addressed through dietary interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1435-1447
Number of pages13
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Hypertensive
  • GPR109A
  • GPR43
  • GPR41
  • GPCRs
  • Tregs
  • Th17
  • Essential hypertension
  • Metabolites
  • Metabolism
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Gut microbiota

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