Kuwahira, I., N. C. Gonzalez, N. Heisler and J. Piiper. Regional blood flow in conscious resting rats determined by microsphere distribution. J Appl Physiol. 74:203-10, 1993.

To determine organ blood flow in the resting state, a box was designed to keep conscious untrained rats minimally disturbed. Blood pressure, heart rate, and organ blood flow, determined by the microsphere distribution and reference sampling technique, were measured in 11 Sprague-Dawley rats. After an acclimation period, 15-microns-diameter microspheres labeled with 113Sn were infused into the ascending aorta, a reference blood sample was withdrawn from the caudal artery, and organ blood flows were computed according to standard procedures. The average values of heart rate (365 beats/min) and blood flow to the brain (45 ml.min-1.100 g-1) and hindlimb muscles (15 ml.min-1.100 g-1) were significantly lower than most values reported earlier, whereas splanchnic blood flow was significantly higher (106 ml.min-1.100 g-1). Blood flow to the soleus muscle, which is considered the most active for postural maintenance, was relatively high (99 ml.min-1.100 g-1). The combination of low skeletal muscle and high visceral blood flows observed in these experiments suggests a low sympathetic tone, which is consistent with the low level of circulating catecholamines also observed in this study. It is hypothesized that the difference between our present and previous results is a lower level of stress, attributable to a more complete acclimation to the experimental environment.