Reductions in water and sodium intake by aged male and female rats

Denovan P. Begg, Andrew J. Sinclair, Richard S. Weisinger

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Aging results in reduced water and sodium intake responses in male rats. Because sex differences exist for water and sodium ingestion of young adult animals, we hypothesized that these sex differences would protect against the diminished water and sodium ingestion of aged female rats. Water and sodium intakes were examined in male and female young adult and aged Brown Norway rats in response to dipsogenic stimuli. Aged rats of both sexes consumed less water than young adult rats in response to 24-h water deprivation, thermal dehydration and hypertonic NaCl injection, but not to peripheral angiotensin II. Aged females consumed more water than males in response to hypertonic NaCl injection. Following sodium depletion, intake of 0.5 M NaCl solution over 2 h was higher in young adult rats than in aged rats. Aged animals had reduced angiotensin receptor 1A (AT1A) and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) mRNA expression in hypothalamic tissue with no sex differences. These data indicate that female rats are not protected from water and sodium intake deficits that occur in aging and that sex differences in sodium intake in young adult rats are eliminated with aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-872
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Atrial natriuretic factor
  • Rat
  • Renin-angiotensin system
  • Sex differences
  • Sodium appetite
  • Thirst

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