Preserved glycemic control and baroreflex efficacy in young adult hypertensive female obese Zucker rats

Parul Chaudhary, Paromita Das-Earl, Ann M. Schreihofer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obese Zucker rats (OZRs) develop hypertension and hyperinsulinemia by 3mo of age. Male OZRs also have diminished baroreflex- mediated activation of nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) and bradycardia, which are improved by correcting their hyperglycemia. Conversely, 3-mo-old female OZRs and lean Zucker rats (LZRs) have equivalent baroreflex-mediated bradycardia that is impaired in 6-mo-old OZRs. We hypothesized that 3-mo-old female OZRs maintain NTS activation and baroreflexes coincident with glycemic control. We also hypothesized that 6-mo-old female OZRs develop impaired baroreflexes with hyperglycemia and diminished NTS activation. In 12- to 16-wk-old females, sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) and arterial pressure (AP) were higher in OZRs than LZRs. However, baroreflex-mediated inhibition of SNA and bradycardia were equivalent in female OZRs and LZRs. Unlike deficits in male OZRs, female OZRs and LZRs had no differences in phenylephrine-induced c-Fos expression in NTS or decreases in SNA and AP evoked by glutamate into NTS. Compared with hyperglycemia in male OZRs (217.9 ± 34.4 mg/dL), female OZRs had normal fed blood glucose levels (108.2 ± 1.6 mg/dL in LZRs and 113.6 ± 3.5 mg/dL in OZRs) with emerging glucose intolerance. Conscious 24- to 27-wk-old female OZRs had impaired baroreflex-mediated bradycardia, but fed blood glucose was modestly elevated (124.2 ± 5.2 mg/dL) and phenylephrine-induced c-Fos expression in NTS was comparable to LZRs. These data suggest that better glycemic control in 3-mo-old female OZRs prevents diminished NTS activation and baroreflexes, supporting the notion that hyperglycemia impairs these responses in male OZRs. However, 6-mo-old female OZRs had impaired baroreflex efficacy without diminished NTS activation or pronounced hyperglycemia, suggesting baroreflex deficits develop by different mechanisms in female and male OZRs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-78
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Glucose tolerance
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Telemetry


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