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Role of the sympathetic nervous system in cold-induced hypertension in rats. J Appl Physiol (1985) 1991 Jul;71(1):300-6



Pubmed ID





Hypertension develops in rats exposed chronically to cold [6 +/- 2 degrees C (SE)] and includes both an elevation of mean arterial pressure and cardiac hypertrophy. Previous studies suggest that cold-exposed animals, at least initially, have a large sustained increase in the activity of their sympathetic nervous system, suggesting a failure of the baroreceptor system to provide sufficient negative feedback to the central nervous system. The present study was designed to investigate whether alterations in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, including the baroreceptor reflex, occur during exposure to cold and whether they contribute to cold-induced hypertension. Twenty male rats were prepared with indwelling catheters in the femoral artery and vein. Ten of the rats were exposed to cold (6 +/- 2 degrees C) chronically, while the remaining 10 were kept at 26 +/- 2 degrees C. Withdrawal of arterial blood samples (less than 5 ml/kg), measurement of direct arterial pressures, and measurement of baroreflex function were carried out at 0800 h at intervals throughout the experiment. Norepinephrine and epinephrine concentrations in plasma were also determined at intervals throughout the experiment. Systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressures of cold-exposed rats were increased to levels significantly above those of controls. The sensitivity of the baroreflex (delta heart period/delta mean arterial pressure) was decreased in the cold-treated group. The concentration of norepinephrine in plasma increased after 24 h of exposure to cold and remained elevated throughout the experiment, whereas the concentration of epinephrine in plasma increased initially but returned to control levels after 19 days of exposure to cold.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Author List

Papanek PE, Wood CE, Fregly MJ


Paula Papanek PhD, MPT, LAT, FACSM Associate Professor & Director of Exercise Science in the Exercise Science & Physical Therapy department at Marquette University

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Blood Pressure
Cold Temperature
Heart Rate
Rats, Inbred Strains
Sympathetic Nervous System
jenkins-FCD Prod-387 b0ced2662056320369de4e5cd5f21c218c03feb3