Gut microbes can protect against high blood pressure

By Anne Trafton | MIT News Office 

 
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The MIT team, working with researchers in Germany, found that in both mice and humans, a high-salt diet shrinks the population of a certain type of beneficial bacteria. As a result, pro-inflammatory immune cells called Th-17 cells grow in number. These immune cells have been linked with high blood pressure, although the exact mechanism of how they contribute to hypertension is not yet known.

The researchers further showed that treatment with a probiotic could reverse these effects, but they caution that people should not interpret the findings as license to eat as much salt as they want, as long as they take a probiotic.

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Sara Wissinger