We investigated the blood-pressure-lowering effects of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and a GABA-enriched fermented milk product (FMG) by low-dose oral administration to spontaneously hypertensive (SHR/Izm) and normotensive Wistar–Kyoto (WKY/Izm) rats. FMG was a non-fat fermented milk product produced by lactic acid bacteria, and the GABA contained in FMG was made from the protein of the milk during fermentation. A single oral dose of GABA or FMG (5 ml/kg; 0·5 mg GABA/kg) significantly (P>0·05) decreased the blood pressure of SHR/Izm from 4 to 8 h after administration, but did not increase that of WKY/Izm rats. The hypotensive activity of GABA was dose-dependent from 0·05 to 5·00 mg/kg in SHR/Izm. During the chronic administration of experimental diets to SHR/Izm, a significantly slower increase in blood pressure with respect to the control group was observed at 1 or 2 weeks after the start of feeding with the GABA or FMG diet respectively (P>0·05) and this difference was maintained throughout the period of feeding. The time profile of blood-pressure change due to administration of FMG was similar to that of GABA. FMG did not inhibit angiotensin 1-converting enzyme. Furthermore, an FMG peptide-containing fraction from reverse-phase chromatography lacked a hypotensive effect in SHR/Izm rats. The present results suggest that low-dose oral GABA has a hypotensive effect in SHR/Izm and that the hypotensive effect of FMG is due to GABA.
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