Merits of non-invasive rat models of left ventricular heart failure

Alex P. Carll, Monte S. Willis, Robert M. Lust, Daniel L. Costa, Aimen K. Farraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Heart failure (HF) is characterized as a limitation to cardiac output that prevents the heart from supplying tissues with adequate oxygen and predisposes individuals to pulmonary edema. Impaired cardiac function is secondary to either decreased contractility reducing ejection (systolic failure), diminished ventricular compliance preventing filling (diastolic failure), or both. To study HF etiology, many different techniques have been developed to elicit this condition in experimental animals, with varying degrees of success. Among rats, surgically induced HF models are the most prevalent, but they bear several shortcomings, including high mortality rates and limited recapitulation of the pathophysiology, etiology, and progression of human HF. Alternatively, a number of non-invasive HF induction methods avoid many of these pitfalls, and their merits in technical simplicity, reliability, survivability, and comparability to the pathophysiologic and pathogenic characteristics of HF are reviewed herein. In particular, this review focuses on the primary pathogenic mechanisms common to genetic strains (spontaneously hypertensive and spontaneously hypertensive heart failure), pharmacological models of toxic cardiomyopathy (doxorubicin and isoproterenol), and dietary salt models, all of which have been shown to induce left ventricular HF in the rat. Additional non-invasive techniques that may potentially enable the development of new HF models are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-112
Number of pages22
JournalCardiovascular Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Doxorubicin
  • Echocardiography
  • Heart failure
  • Heart failure model
  • Isoproterenol
  • Rat
  • SHHF
  • Salt diet
  • Spontaneously hypertensive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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