Exaggerated cardiovascular responses to treadmill running in rats with peripheral arterial insufficiency

J. Matthew Kuczmarski, Kellee Unrath, Gail D. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Patients with atherosclerotic peripheral artery disease have an augmented pressor response to treadmill walking, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood and difficult to isolate because of the confounding presence of numerous cardiovascular risk factors. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that a chronic deficit in muscle blood flow capacity would be sufficient to trigger an exaggerated pressor response to dynamic exercise. Sprague-Dawley rats (5 male and 5 female) were instrumented with radiotelemetry devices to measure the cardiovascular responses to treadmill running before and after bilateral femoral artery ligation, which has been previously shown to reduce the blood flow capacity of distal hindlimb muscles by <60%. Treadmill running evoked reproducible increases in mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR), which were significantly augmented 3 days after femoral artery ligation in both male rats [μMAP: =10 ± 1 (SE) vs. =18 ± 3 mmHg and μHR: =94 ± 12 vs. =148 ± 15 beats/min, P ± 0.05] and female rats (μMAP: =16 ± 3 vs. =30 ± 5 mmHg and μHR: =128 ± 20 vs. =178 ± 19 beats/min, P ± 0.05). Similar exaggerated MAP and HR responses were observed at repeated intervals between 3 and 65 days postligation. These findings indicate that a chronic deficit in muscle blood flow capacity is an important, persistent cause of the abnormal pressor and cardioaccelerator responses to dynamic exercise in both male and female rats with peripheral arterial insufficiency. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Using radiotelemetry to assess cardiovascular effects of exercise, we showed that femoral artery obstruction in male and female rats is an important, persistent cause of exaggerated pressor and cardioaccelerator responses to treadmill running. This translational model reproduces the abnormal cardiovascular response to exercise seen in patients with peripheral artery disease. Listen to this article’s corresponding podcast at http://ajpheart.pod-bean.com/e/treadmill-bp-in-simulated-peripheral-artery-disease/.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H114-H121
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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