Palmitoylethanolamide and Blood Pressure

What is Palmitoylethanolamide? 

Palmitoylethanolamide structure

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid amide, belonging to a class of nuclear factor agonists. It is found in many different species, including humans, and is present in a variety of tissues, including the brain.

PEA has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and pain-relieving properties. It acts primarily through the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα), a nuclear receptor involved in the regulation of inflammation and pain.

Its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects have been demonstrated in a number of clinical trials, with indications that it could be useful for conditions such as neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and various inflammatory conditions.

Can Palmitoylethanolamide Help Lower Blood Pressure?

This study presents novel findings regarding the role of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) in alleviating High Blood Pressure (hypertension) a common cardiovascular condition. The authors demonstrate that long-term treatment with PEA improves endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)-mediated vasodilation, specifically in the mesenteric vascular bed of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs).

This vasodilation improvement, they suggest, is due to PEA's ability to modulate the metabolism of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) and the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which play crucial roles in blood pressure regulation. The study reveals that PEA treatment results in an increase in EDHF-mediated vasodilator function, suggesting a potential therapeutic role for PEA in hypertension management.

More Sciency Details

The authors further elaborate on the importance of EDHF in small resistance arteries, emphasizing its role in hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions. They provide evidence of PEA's ability to rectify the reduced EET plasma levels and elevated sEH expression/activity characteristic of the SHR model.

Moreover, the study examines the impact of PEA on the RAS, an essential hormonal system involved in blood pressure control. The researchers found that PEA treatment inhibited the overexpression of AT1 and ACE, key components of the RAS, in SHRs.

This interaction between Ang II and sEH, alongside the reduction of AT1 and ACE expression, is proposed to contribute to the decreased sEH expression observed in PEA-treated SHRs. This finding may have significant therapeutic implications as it suggests that PEA may have a dual effect on hypertension management by not only improving vasodilation but also by modulating the RAS.

The authors conclude that PEA could offer a supplemental approach to hypertension treatment, working alongside existing ACE inhibitors and AT1-receptor blockers to more effectively manage blood pressure. This possibility, they propose, merits further investigation.

To Summarize...

Based on this research conducted on spontaneously hypertensive rats, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) was found to reduce blood pressure and kidney damage secondary to hypertension. The study suggests this is achieved through several mechanisms:

  • PEA appears to enhance endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)-mediated vasodilation. EDHF is one of the factors that helps regulate vascular tone and blood pressure.

  • PEA also seems to modulate the metabolism of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), which are derivatives of arachidonic acid that act as EDHFs. The study showed an increase in the enzymes that form EETs (CYP2C23 and CYP2J2) and a decrease in the enzyme that degrades them (soluble epoxide hydrolase or sEH), resulting in more EETs.

  • Furthermore, PEA was found to downregulate the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), specifically angiotensin receptor 1 (AT1) and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) expression, which helps regulate blood pressure.

It's important to note that this is still experimental research and it was conducted in rats. There's often a long pathway to translate animal research into human medicine, as effects observed in animals don't always occur in humans. Further studies, including clinical trials in humans, would be needed to confirm these findings and determine the safety and effectiveness of PEA for blood pressure regulation in humans.