Progression of cardiovascular and endocrine dysfunction in a rabbit model of obesity

Gabriela Alejandra Eppel, James Armitage, Nina Eikelis, Geoff Albert Head, Roger George Evans

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In rabbits, mean arterial pressure (MAP) increases in response to fat feeding, but does not increase further with progressive weight gain. We documented the progression of adiposity and the alterations in endocrine/cardiovascular function in response to fat feeding in rabbits, to determine whether stabilization of MAP after 3 weeks could be explained by stabilization of neurohormonal factors. Rabbits were fed a control diet or high-fat diet for 9 weeks (n=23). Fat feeding progressively increased body mass and adiposity. Heart rate (HR) was elevated by week 3 (15+/-3 ) but changed little thereafter. The effects of fat feeding on MAP were dependent on baseline MAP and peaked at 3 weeks. From baseline, MAP 80 mm Hg. Plasma concentrations of leptin and insulin increased during the first 3-6 weeks of fat feeding and then stabilized (increasing by 111+/-17 and 731+/-302 by week 9, respectively), coinciding with the pattern of changes in MAP and HR. Plasma total cholesterol, triglycerides, renin activity, aldosterone and atrial natriuretic peptide were not significantly altered by fat feeding. Given that the changes in plasma leptin and insulin mirrored the changes in MAP and HR, leptin and insulin may be important factors in the development of hypertension and tachycardia in the rabbit model of obesity.Hypertension Research advance online publication, 14 February 2013; doi:10.1038/hr.2013.2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588 - 595
Number of pages8
JournalHypertension Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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