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Hypertension. 1989 Jun;13(6 Pt 2):896-901.

The Zucker fatty rat as a genetic model of obesity and hypertension.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0134.


The association of hypertension with obesity has long been recognized; however, because of the lack of suitable animal models of obesity and hypertension, the pathogenesis of the high blood pressure associated with obesity remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that the Zucker fatty rat, a widely studied model of obesity and insulin resistance, might also be characterized by hypertension. Mean arterial pressure directly measured in the unanesthetized, unrestrained obese (fatty) Zucker rat was significantly greater than in two strains of nonobese control rats, the lean Zucker rat and the Lewis rat. The greater blood pressure in the obese rats was not dependent on hyperphagia or increased body weight per se since moderate caloric restriction, achieved by pair-feeding with lean rats, decreased weight gain but did not attenuate hypertension. Pair-fed obese rats retained less sodium than lean control rats, suggesting that greater blood pressure in the obese rats is not a consequence of increased renal retention of sodium. A unique feature of the Zucker strain is that the increased blood pressure appears to be specifically associated with the obese genotype. The findings suggest that the obese Zucker rat might provide a useful experimental model of obesity and hypertension.

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