Transgenic Rice May Help Reduce Hypertension

Aug, 2020 - By SMI

Transgenic Rice May Help Reduce Hypertension

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Transgenic rice has been developed by the research team from Canada, China, and India, which gives high yields even under severe water deficit. The new rice variety has been developed by transferring a gene from a common plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, into a variety of Indian rice named samba mahsuri. However, it could save the lives of individuals with high blood pressure. One of the major causes of hypertension, stroke, and heart disease is often treated with a class of drugs named ACE inhibitors, which target the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) in the hormonal system of the patient.

ACE can cause high blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels. However, such drugs may have some unwanted side effects such as dry coughs, headaches, rashes, and kidney impairment. Foods such as milk, eggs, meat, fish, and some plants contain natural amino acids (ACE-inhibiting peptides) that produce fewer side effects. However, according to the researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, separating those peptides from foods in large quantities is an expensive and time-consuming process. The team created a gene that includes one blood vessel-relaxing peptide and nine ACE-inhibitory peptides that were all linked together.

Then, the team introduced that gene to the rice plants, the resulting rice was found to contain high levels of the peptides. During this research, the researchers used a mouse model to determine the efficacy of peptides extracted from that rice. A significant drop in blood pressure was observed in hypertensive rats, those who received flour made from the transgenic rice for up to 5 weeks. On the other hand, the team does not a drop in blood pressure in the control group. The effect persists for one week after the treatment and no side effects were observed. The research was published in June 2020 in the Agricultural and Food Chemistry Journal.

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