/* */ PELVIPHARM - Spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR)
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Spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR)

Model advantages

This rat model is the most widely used animal model of hypertension and develops many features of human hypertensive end-organ damage such as cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac failure and renal dysfunction.

Pathophysiological features

Cardiovascular features :

  • Spontaneous severe hypertension with blood pressure stabilization around 12 weeks of age (>160 mmHg).
  • Differential sensitivity to various hypertensive agents (figure 1)
Figure 1: Blood pressure-lowering efficacy of common antihypertensive agents in SHR.
Figure 1: Blood pressure-lowering efficacy of common antihypertensive agents in SHR.
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Vascular remodeling
  • Cardiac hypertrophy
  • Exhibits some features of metabolic syndrome: insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension
  • Sympathetic hyperactivity

Erectile function features:

  • Erectile dysfunction preceding the elevation of blood pressure (figure 2). 
Figure 2: In vivo (left panel) and in vitro (right panel) evidence of erectile dysfunction in 12 week-old SHR. From Behr-Roussel et. Al, 2005
Figure 2: In vivo (left panel) and in vitro (right panel) evidence of erectile dysfunction in 12 week-old SHR. From Behr-Roussel et. Al, 2005

  • Corpora cavernosa remodeling
  • Cavernosal endothelial dysfunction

Bladder function features

  • Changes in neuronal morphology (increase in bladder afferents) and function similar to those that occur with obstruction of the bladder outlet as it is the case in patients with lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Exhibits abnormal bladder function: decreased bladder capacity and voided volume, increased urinary frequency, and occurrence of non voiding contractions associated with changes in the noradrenergic control of the micturition reflex.

Figure 3: Representative cystometrograms in conscious SHR and WKY rats. Arrows indicate the voiding contractions. Detrusor overactivity occurs in SHR rats but not in WKY rats (Pelvipharm, internal data).
Figure 3: Representative cystometrograms in conscious SHR and WKY rats. Arrows indicate the voiding contractions. Detrusor overactivity occurs in SHR rats but not in WKY rats (Pelvipharm, internal data).


  • Increase in α-adrenoceptor agonist responsiveness of detrusor strips in vitro in organ baths
  • Increase in urethral α-adrenoceptor agonist responsiveness in vitro in organ baths
Related Pelvipharm bibliography
Behr-Roussel, D. et al.
Am J Physiol - Regul (2005) : 288:R276-R283

Behr-Roussel, D. et al.
Am J Physiol Regul (2003) : 284:R682-R688
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