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Maximum oxygen consumption of rats and its changes with various experimental procedures.


A ten-stage treadmill test was developed and standardized to secure the VO2max of male and female rats assigned to various cross-sectional and longitudinal experimental groups. Repeated measurements indicated that the test procedure was reliable and could be used for research purposes. When the test was used with different strains, the untrained Sprague-Dawley rats had significantly higher VO2max values than animals of the Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) or the Okamoto-Aoki (SHR) strains. Exercise schedules were evaluated that were similar to those previously used by various investigators and it was found that most were exercising their rats at levels exceeding 75% VO2max. After 6--10 wk of chronic exercise, significant increases in VO2max occurred that ranged between 12 and 26%. Longitudinal studies (1 yr) with hypertensive (SHR) rats revealed that it was more desirable to logarithmically evaluate the relationship between VO2max and body mass than by the conventional method of ml . kg-1 . min-1. When this approach was used with SHR animals, the VO2max differences between the sexes were not apparent until the animals were 1 yr of age. On the other hand, training by male SHR rats caused significant increases in VO2max regardless of the method used to express the results. It is recommended that future studies designed to elucidate exercise mechanisms in rats should include a standardized VO2max test.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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