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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2002 Mar;282(3):H918-25.

Maternal cardiovascular changes during pregnancy and postpartum in mice.

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  • 1Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, M5G 1X5, Ontario, Canada.


Genetically altered mice may provide useful models for exploring cardiovascular regulation during pregnancy and postpartum if changes in mice mimic humans. We found in awake ICR (CD-1) mice at 17.5 days gestation that hematocrit was reduced 18%, and the pressor response to intravenous angiotensin II was reduced ~33%. Arterial pressure in awake mice was 12% lower in early pregnancy (3.5 days) than late pregnancy (17.5 days) and postpartum (3 and 17 days after delivery), whereas heart rate was 10-20% higher in the peripartum period (17.5 days gestation and 3 days postpartum). In late pregnancy, cardiac output under isoflurane anesthesia was 64% higher than in nonpregnant mice, due to a 37% increase in stroke volume and a 17% increase in heart rate. All changes P < 0.05. We conclude that, as in humans, mice exhibit hypotension in early pregnancy, and a blunted pressor response to angiotensin II, a decrease in hematocrit, and a marked increase in cardiac output in late pregnancy.

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