Distribution of cardiac output during diurnal changes of activity in rats

Am J Physiol. 1991 Nov;261(5 Pt 2):H1487-93. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.1991.261.5.H1487.


Rat locomotor and feeding behavior varies on a diurnal basis; at night the animals actively forage and eat, whereas during the day they are more inactive and somnolent. At night, cardiac output is higher, presumably for enhanced perfusion of the active muscles to support increased metabolism and for enhanced perfusion of the digestive organs to support increased digestion and nutrient absorption. Conversely, it is hypothesized that during the daytime, blood flow to these two tissues is relatively low. The purpose of this study was to test these hypotheses by measuring cardiac output and the distribution of cardiac output in rats at various times in the diurnal cycle (8:00 A.M., 4:00 P.M., and 8:00 P.M.). The radiolabeled microsphere technique was used to measure cardiac output and distribution of blood flow to the tissues. Distribution of the total cardiac output was accounted for by complete dissection, weighing, and counting of organs and carcass. Cardiac output at 8:00 P.M. (136 +/- 9 ml/min) was elevated 13% (P less than 0.05) over that at 4:00 P.M. The proportion of the cardiac output distributed to the skeletal muscles (4:00 P.M.: 25%; 8:00 P.M.: 27%) and to the digestive tract (4:00 P.M.: 14%; 8:00 P.M.: 14%) did not change between the two time periods. Thus total muscle blood flow increased (P less than 0.05) from 31 +/- 2 at 4:00 P.M. to 36 +/- 4 ml/min at 8:00 P.M.; the only digestive organ to show a significant increase in blood flow from 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. was the stomach (133 +/- 17 to 166 +/- 19 ml/min, respectively).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cardiac Output*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Heart Rate*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Muscles / blood supply*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Stroke Volume