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Regular physical exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and improves outcome in patients with cardiovascular diseases. The dynamic changes in blood pressure and heart rate with acute exercise are independently predictive of prognosis. Quantification of the haemodynamic response to exercise training in genetically modified mouse models may provide insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of exercise. We describe, for the first time, the use of radiotelemetry to provide continuous blood pressure monitoring in C57BL/6J mice during a programme of voluntary wheel exercise with continuous simultaneous recording and analysis of wheel rotations and beat-by-beat haemodynamic parameters. We define distinct haemodynamic profiles at rest, during normal cage activity and during episodes of voluntary wheel running. We show that whilst cage activity is associated with significant rises both in blood pressure and in heart rate, voluntary wheel running leads to a further substantial rise in heart rate with only a small increment in blood pressure. With 5 weeks of chronic exercise training, resting heart rate progressively falls, but heart rate during episodes of wheel running initially increases. In contrast, there are minimal changes in blood pressure in response to chronic exercise training. Finally, we have quantified the acute changes in heart rate at the onset of and recovery from individual episodes of wheel running, revealing that changes in heart rate are extremely rapid and that the peak rate of change of heart rate increases with chronic exercise training. The results of this study have important implications for the use of genetically modified mouse models to investigate the beneficial haemodynamic effects of chronic exercise on blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. © 2011 The Physiological Society.

Original publication




Journal article


Experimental Physiology

Publication Date





1118 - 1128