Age-related changes in cardiac structure and function in Fischer 344 x Brown Norway hybrid rats.
The effects of aging on cardiovascular function and cardiac structure were determined in a rat model recommended for gerontological studies. A cross-sectional analysis assessed cardiac changes in male Fischer 344 x Brown Norway F1 hybrid rats (FBN) from adulthood to the very aged (n = 6 per 12-, 18-, 21-, 24-, 27-, 30-, 33-, 36-, and 39-mo-old group). Rats underwent echocardiographic and hemodynamic analyses to determine standard values for left ventricular (LV) mass, LV wall thickness, LV chamber diameter, heart rate, LV fractional shortening, mitral inflow velocity, LV relaxation time, and aortic/LV pressures. Histological analyses were used to assess LV fibrotic infiltration and cardiomyocyte volume density over time. Aged rats had an increased LV mass-to-body weight ratio and deteriorated systolic function. LV systolic pressure declined with age. Histological analysis demonstrated a gradual increase in fibrosis and a decrease in cardiomyocyte volume density with age. We conclude that, although significant physiological and morphological changes occurred in heart function and structure between 12 and 39 mo of age, these changes did not likely contribute to mortality. We report reference values for cardiac function and structure in adult FBN male rats through very old age at 3-mo intervals.
Hacker, TA; McKiernan, SH; Douglas, PS; Wanagat, J; Aiken, JM
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