Sex differences in the drinking response to angiotensin II (AngII): Effect of body weight

Horm Behav. 2017 Jul;93:128-136. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2017.05.013. Epub 2017 Jun 3.


Sex differences in fluid intake stimulated by angiotensin II (AngII) have been reported, but the direction of the differences is inconsistent. To resolve these discrepancies, we measured water intake by male and female rats given AngII. Males drank more than females, but when intake was normalized to body weight, the sex difference was reversed. Weight-matched males and females, however, had no difference in intake. Using a linear mixed model analysis, we found that intake was influenced by weight, sex, and AngII dose. We used linear regression to disentangle these effects further. Comparison of regression coefficients revealed sex and weight differences at high doses of AngII. Specifically, after 100ng AngII, weight was a predictor of intake in males, but not in females. Next, we tested for differences in AngII-induced intake in male and females allowed to drink both water and saline. Again, males drank more water than females, but females showed a stronger preference for saline. Drinking microstructure analysis suggested that these differences were mediated by postingestive signals and more bottle switches by the females. Finally, we probed for differences in the expression of components of the renin-angiotensin system in the brains of males and females and found sex differences in several genes in discrete brain regions. These results provide new information to help understand key sex differences in ingestive behaviors, and highlight the need for additional research to understand baseline sex differences, particularly in light of the new NIH initiative to balance sex in biomedical research.

Keywords: AT1R; Estrous cycle; Saline intake; Water intake.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Drinking / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / drug effects


  • Angiotensin II