Ayala-Méndez, G. X., Calderón, V. M., Zuñiga-Pimentel, T. A. et al. 2023. Noninvasive monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate during estrous cycle phases in bormotensive Wistar–Kyoto and spontaneously hypertensive female rats. JAALAS 62(3), 267–273.

Since 2015, the National Institutes of Health has called for its funded preclinical research to include both male and female subjects. However, much of the basic animal research that has studied heart rate and blood pressure in the past has used male rats. Male rats have been preferred for these studies to avoid the possible complicating effects of the female estrous cycle. The aim of the current study was to determine whether blood pressure and heart rates vary as a function of the estrous cycle phase of young normotensive Wistar–Kyoto (WKY) and Spontaneously Hypertensive (SHR) female rats. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured at the same time of day throughout the estrous cycle by using a noninvasive tail cuff sphygmomano- metric technique. As expected, 16-wk-old female SHR rats had higher blood pressure and heart rates than did age-matched female WKY rats. However, no significant differences in mean, systolic, or diastolic arterial blood pressure or heart rate were detected across the different stages of the estrous cycle in either strain of female rats. Consistent with previous reports, heart rates were higher and showed less variation in the hypertensive SHR female rats as compared with the normotensive WKY female rats. These results indicate that studies measuring blood pressure and heart rate can include young female SHR and WKY rats with no effect of estrous cycle stage.

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