Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences are developing a type of transgenic rice that contains antihypertensive properties.
Eating rice instead of taking drugs to lower blood pressure: wouldn’t that be great? Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences want to make this possible soon: they are developing a type of transgenic rice that contains antihypertensive properties.
According to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, when tested on hypertensive rats, the transgenic rice lowered the animals’ blood pressure. The treatment with flour made from rice also worked, reducing blood pressure for up to 1 week later.
The researchers introduced a gene into rice plants that consists of nine peptides that inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), involved in regulating blood pressure, and a peptide responsible for relaxing blood vessels. The researchers then extracted the total protein (which includes all these peptides) from the transgenic rice and administered it to rats.
Two hours after treatment, hypertensive rats showed a drop in blood pressure, while those treated with normal rice proteins did not. In addition, the treated rats had no side effects in terms of growth, development, or blood biochemistry.
As they explained in a statement, the scientists hope that if the peptides have the same effects on humans, an adult of about 68 kilograms (150 pounds) will need to eat only half a tablespoon of transgenic rice every day to prevent and treat hypertension.