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Long-Term Continuous Measurement of Renal Blood Flow in Conscious Rats. J Vis Exp 2022 Feb 08(180)



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85125412565 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   1 Citation


The kidneys play a crucial role in maintaining the homeostasis of body fluids. The regulation of renal blood flow (RBF) is essential to the vital functions of filtration and metabolism in kidney function. Many acute studies have been carried out in anesthetized animals to measure RBF under various conditions to determine mechanisms responsible for the regulation of kidney perfusion. However, for technical reasons, it has not been possible to measure RBF continuously (24 h/day) in unrestrained unanesthetized rats over prolonged periods. These methods allow the continuous determination of RBF over many weeks while also simultaneously recording blood pressure (BP) with implanted catheters (fluid-filled or by telemetry). RBF monitoring is carried out with rats placed in a circular servo-controlled rat cage that enables the unrestrained movement of the rat throughout the study. At the same time, the tangling of cables from the flow probe and arterial catheters is prevented. Rats are first instrumented with an ultrasonic flow probe placement on the left renal artery and an arterial catheter implanted in the right femoral artery. These are routed subcutaneously to the nape of the neck, and connected to the flowmeter and pressure transducer, respectively, to measure RBF and BP. Following surgical implantation, rats are immediately placed in the cage to recover for at least one week and stabilize the ultrasonic probe recordings. Urine collection is also feasible in this system. The surgical and post-surgical procedures for continuous monitoring are demonstrated in this protocol.

Author List

Shimada S, Cowley AW Jr


Allen W. Cowley Jr PhD Professor in the Physiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

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

Blood Pressure
Renal Artery
Renal Circulation