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Nitric oxide-dependent hypotensive effects of wax gourd juice

Nakashima, Miki, Shigekuni, Yukiko, Obi, Takeshi, Shiraishi, Mitsuya, Miyamoto, Atsushi, Yamasaki, Hideo, Etoh, Takeomi, Iwai, Sumio
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2011 v.138 no.2 pp. 404-407
Benincasa hispida, Oriental traditional medicine, antihypertensive effect, blood pressure, endothelial cells, hypertension, intravenous injection, juices, mechanism of action, nitric oxide, rats, vasodilation, vegetables
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: The wax gourd (Benincasa hispida (Thunb) Cong.) is a long-season vegetable that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat high blood pressure. However, precise details of its effect and the mechanism of action involved are still lacking. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ten-fold-condensed wax gourd juice was used for the experiments. We measured (1) blood pressure of anesthetized normal Wistar rats in vivo, (2) isolated rat aortic contraction and relaxation, and (3) nitric oxide production from cultured porcine endothelial cells. The rats mentioned had not been treated with the investigational medicine. RESULTS: Intravenous injection of the juice produced a dose-dependent decrease in blood pressure. Treatment with the juice induced concentration-dependent relaxation of isolated rat aortic rings that had been precontracted with noradrenaline. The relaxation induced by the juice was strongly inhibited by treatment with the nitric oxide (NO) synthase inhibitor Nᴳ-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (l-NAME) or endothelial denudation. Treatment with the juice produced NO from cultured porcine aortic endothelial cells. This NO production was significantly inhibited by l-NAME. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings suggest that wax gourd juice exerts a hypotensive effect via endothelium-dependent vasodilation. The main endothelium-derived relaxing factor involved might be NO.