Exercise training reverse autonomic dysfunction and hypertension in rats fed with high-fat diet

<div><p>Abstract AIMS We evaluated whether exercise training ameliorates cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction in obesity-induced by high-fat diet (HFD) in rats. METHODS Wistar male rats were assigned in normal diet, sedentary (ND-S) and trained (ND-T) and HFD, sedentary (HFD-S) and trained (HFD-T). Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), HR variability (HRV), BP variability (BPV), cardiac baroreflex and cardiac autonomic tonus were assessed. RESULTS HFD-S showed higher bodyweight increase (19.4%) compared to all other groups (HFD-T: 13.2%, ND-S: 14% and ND-T: 12.4%). Relative epididymal, retroperitoneal and visceral fat was also greater in HFD-S compared to all other groups. Resting bradycardia in ND-T (339.5±10.6 bpm) and HFD-T (341.0 ± 9.4 bpm) was more pronounced than ND-S (438.4 ± 6.3 bpm; p<0.05) and HFD-S (448.5 ± 18.7 bpm; p<0.05). The HFD-T group showed lower systolic (125.3 ( 1.9 mmHg), diastolic (88.5 ( 2.0 mmHg) and mean BP (100.3 ± 2.5 mmHg) in comparison with HFD-S (153.8 ( 3.7; 103.5 ( 2.6 and 120.5 ± 3.7 mmHg; p<0.05, respectively). Lower variance of HRV and higher variance of diastolic BPV was observed in HFD-S compared to other groups while sympathetic modulation of HRV and BPV was higher in HFD-S, as well as the LF/HF ratio. HFD-T showed a decrease in sympathetic tonus compared to HFD-S. ND-T and HFD-T showed higher cardiac vagal tonus than respective sedentary groups. Analysis showed an association between visceral fat, sympathetic activity and BP. CONCLUSIONS HFD induces hypertension and is associated with autonomic imbalance in rats, while exercise training may reverse these harmful changes.</p></div>