The aim of this work was to produce antihypertensive protein hydrolysates through different forms of enzymatic hydrolysis (2% pepsin, 4% pepsin, 1% alcalase, 2% alcalase, 2% papain, and 2% pepsin + pancreatin) of hemp seed proteins (HSP). The hemp seed protein hydrolysates (HPHs) were tested for in vitro
inhibitions of renin and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), two of the enzymes that regulate human blood pressure. The HPHs were then administered orally (200 mg/kg body weight) to spontaneously hypertensive rats and systolic blood pressure (SBP)-lowering effects measured over a 24 h period. Size exclusion chromatography mainly showed a 300–9560 Da peptide size range for the HPHs, while amino acid composition data had the 2% pepsin HPH with the highest cysteine content. Fluorescence spectroscopy revealed higher fluorescence intensities for the peptides when compared to the unhydrolyzed hemp seed protein. Overall, the 1% alcalase HPH was the most effective (p
< 0.05) SBP-reducing agent (−32.5 ± 0.7 mmHg after 4 h), while the pepsin HPHs produced longer-lasting effects (−23.0 ± 1.4 mmHg after 24 h). We conclude that an optimized combination of the fast-acting HPH (1% alcalase) with the longer-lasting HPHs (2% and 4% pepsin) could provide daily effective SBP reductions.
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