Age-associated alterations of cardiac structure and function in the female F344xBN rat heart

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 8-2014


The Fischer 344/NNiaHSD × Brown Norway/BiNia F1 (F344xBN) rat model exhibits an increased life span and fewer age-associated pathologies compared to commonly used Fischer 344 (F344). How aging may affect cardiac structure and function in these animals, has to our knowledge, not been investigated. Echocardiography was performed on female F344xBN rats at 6, 26, and 30 months of age using a Phillips 5500 Echocardiography system. Before sacrifice, electrocardiograms were measured in the female F344xBN in order to determine heart rhythm interval changes. Aging was associated with an increase in heart to body weight ratio, cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area, posterior wall thickening, and left ventricle chamber dilatation. Aging was associated with slight evidence of diastolic dysfunction. Alterations in heart rhythm intervals were associated with alterations in the spatial distribution of connexin 43. The incidence of arrhythmias was not different with age; however, valvular dysfunction was increased. These data suggest that aging in the female F344xBN rat heart is associated with changes in cardiac structure as well as function. Further investigation regarding other parameters of cardiac biochemistry and function is needed to better understand the normal compensated cardiovascular aging process in the female F344xBN.


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