The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an extract from Moringa oleifera (MO) on the development of monocrotaline (MCT)-induced pulmonary hypertension (PH) in Wistar rats. An ethanol extraction was performed on dried MO leaves, and HPLC analysis identified niaziridin and niazirin in the extract. PH was induced with a single subcutaneous injection of MCT (60 mg/kg) which resulted in increases in pulmonary arterial blood pressure (Ppa) and in thickening of the pulmonary arterial medial layer in the rats. Three weeks after induction, acute administration of the MO extract to the rats decreased Ppa in a dose-dependent manner that reached statistical significance at a dose of 4.5 mg of freeze-dried extract per kg body weight. The reduction in Ppa suggested that the extract directly relaxed the pulmonary arteries. To assay the effects of chronic administration of the MO extract on PH, control, MCT and MCT+MO groups were designated. Rats in the control group received a saline injection; the MCT and MCT+MO groups received MCT to induce PH. During the third week after MCT treatment, the MCT+MO group received daily i.p. injections of the MO extract (4.5 mg of freeze-dried extract/kg of body weight). Compared to the control group, the MCT group had higher Ppa and thicker medial layers in the pulmonary arteries. Chronic treatments with the MO extract reversed the MCT-induced changes. Additionally, the MCT group had a significant elevation in superoxide dismutase activity when normalized by the MO extract treatments. In conclusion, the MO extract successfully attenuated the development of PH via direct vasodilatation and a potential increase in antioxidant activity.
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