Mediterranean tomato-based sofrito protects against vascular alterations in obese Zucker rats by preserving NO bioavailability

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Sofrito, a key component of the Mediterranean diet, provides nutritional interest due to its high content in bioactive compounds from tomato and olive oil, and especially to the lipid matrix in which these compounds are found. In this study, the potential beneficial effects of dietary intake of sofrito on obesity-related vascular alterations were explored in obese Zucker rats.

Methods and results

Obese and lean rats were fed a control diet supplemented or not with 2% w/w sofrito for 8 weeks. Vascular function was evaluated in aorta in organ baths. Dihydroethidium staining and immunofluorescence was used to determine aortic superoxide and peroxynitrite production, respectively. Despite food and caloric intake was higher in sofrito-fed obese rats, no differences were appreciated on body weight compared to control rats. Sofrito attenuated phenylephrine-induced vasoconstriction. This effect was associated with preservation of nitric oxide on vasoconstriction and normalization of serum nitric oxide metabolites, vascular inducible nitric oxide synthase and vascular superoxide and peroxynitrite levels.


This is the first evidence of tomato-based sofrito protection against vascular alterations that could precede major cardiometabolic complications in obesity. These results contribute to explain the therapeutic properties of the Mediterranean diet in obesity-related disorders. Therefore, sofrito is an attractive dietary approach against vascular alterations in obesity.

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