Preventive effects of nitrate-rich beetroot juice supplementation on monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats.
PLoS One. 2021 ;16(4):e0249816. Epub 2021 Apr 8. PMID: 33831045
Beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) has a high level of nitrate; therefore, its dietary intake could increase nitric oxide (NO) level in the body, possibly preventing the development of pulmonary hypertension (PH). In this study, we examined the effects of beetroot juice (BJ) supplementation on PH and the contribution of nitrate to such effects using a rat model of monocrotaline (MCT, 60 mg/kg s.c.)-induced PH. Rats were injected subcutaneously with saline or 60 mg/kg MCT and were sacrificed 28 days after the injection. In some rats injected with MCT, BJ was supplemented from the day of MCT injection to the day of sacrifice. First, MCT-induced right ventricular systolic pressure elevation, pulmonary arterial medial thickening and muscularization, and right ventricular hypertrophy were suppressed by supplementation with low-dose BJ (nitrate: 1.3 mmol/L) but not high-dose BJ (nitrate: 4.3 mmol/L). Of the plasma nitrite, nitrate, and their sum (NOx) levels, only the nitrate levels were found to be increased by the high-dose BJ supplementation. Second, in order to clarify the possible involvement of nitrate in the preventive effects of BJ on PH symptoms, the effects of nitrate-rich BJ (nitrate: 0.9 mmol/L) supplementation were compared with those of the nitrate-depleted BJ. While the former exerted preventive effects on PH symptoms, such effects were not observed in rats supplemented with nitrate-depleted BJ. Neither supplementation with nitrate-rich nor nitrate-depleted BJ affected plasma nitrite, nitrate, and NOx levels. These findings suggest that a suitable amount of BJ ingestion, which does not affect systemic NO levels, can prevent the development of PH in a nitrate-dependent manner. Therefore, BJ could be highly useful as a therapy in patients with PH.