Acute cardiorespiratory responses of hypertensive rats to swimming and treadmill exercise

M. L. Sturek, T. G. Bedford, C. M. Tipton, L. Newcomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


The acute cardiorespiratory responses of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) to swimming and running exercise was investigated because 1) SHR populations are hyperresponsive to external stimuli, 2) of the paucity of existing data, and 3) of the uncertainty on the role of exercise stimuli for training adaptations to occur. Male rats were assigned to one of five groups (n = 5-6/group) and designated as controls (C), inexperienced or naive free swimmers (NFS), experienced free swimmers (FS), experienced weighted swimmers (WS) (attached weights equal to 2% of their body weight) or experienced runners (R) who ran at an intensity of 75% of their V̇O(2max). After 75 min in the water, all groups were acidotic and hypercapnic with the WS experiencing the greatest changes. Heart rate (HR) was increased in all swimmers during the initial 10 min, but declined thereafter, and after 75 min, the HR of WS (348 ± 1 beats/min) was significantly lower than the C group (416 ± 22 beats/min). At the same time interval, mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) was decreased in all swimming groups to values lower than the C animals. In addition, an exaggerated diving reflex was frequently noted when the rats were submerged. When the magnitudes of the changes were evaluated in the swimming animals they were directly associated with their submergence times, i.e., during 65-75 min of the swim, NFS, FS, and WS were submerged for 43, 46, and 66% of their total swimm time, respectively. In sharp contrast to the swimmers, the runners exhibited increases in HR and MAP with their blood gas measurements being indicative of hyperventilation. We concluded that swimming as an exercise mode for hypertensive rats is best served to study the combined effects of excitement, prolonged submergence, and the consequences of the diving reflex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1328-1332
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology

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