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Preventive and treatment effects of a hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) meal protein hydrolysate against high blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats

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This work determined the ability of hemp seed meal protein hydrolysate (HMH)-containing diets to attenuate elevated blood pressure (hypertension) development in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs). Effects of diets on plasma levels of renin and angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) in the SHRs were also determined.


Defatted hemp seed protein meal was hydrolyzed using simulated gastrointestinal tract digestion with pepsin followed by pancreatin, and the resulting HMH used as a source of antihypertensive peptides. The HMH was substituted for casein at 0.5 and 1.0 % levels and fed to young growing rats for 8 weeks (preventive phase) or adult rats for 4 weeks (treatment phase).


Feeding of young growing SHRs with HMH resulted in attenuation of the normal increases in systolic blood pressure (SBP) with an average value of ~120 mmHg when compared to the casein-only group of rats (control) with a maximum of 158 mm Hg (p < 0.05). Feeding adult rats (SBP ~145 mmHg) with same diets during a 4-week period led to significant (p < 0.05) reduction in SBP to ~119 mmHg in comparison with 150 mmHg for the control rats. Plasma ACE activity was significantly (p < 0.05) suppressed (0.047–0.059 U/mL) in HMH-fed rats when compared to control rats (0.123 U/mL). Plasma renin level was also decreased for HMH-fed rats (0.040–0.054 μg/mL) when compared to control rats that were fed only with casein (0.151 μg/mL).


The results suggest that HMH with strong hypotensive effects in SHRs could be used as a therapeutic agent for both the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

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This work was funded through an operating grant from the Manitoba Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative (ARDI) and a Discovery grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to Dr R.E. Aluko.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Rotimi E. Aluko.

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Girgih, A.T., Alashi, A., He, R. et al. Preventive and treatment effects of a hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) meal protein hydrolysate against high blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Eur J Nutr 53, 1237–1246 (2014).

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