Prolonged water immersion: Effects on blood pressure maturation in normotensive rats

F. Magrini, P. Reggiani, M. Ciulla, R. Meazza, G. Branzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this experiment was to study the impact of simulated microgravity and of chronic removal of hydrostatic pressure gradients on blood pressure maturation and body growth in rats. A special device was developed in our laboratory to transfer prolonged 'dry' water immersion (a technique that has been used for training astronauts under hypogravic conditions) to six Sprague-Dawley test rats (immersion-G group). The time course of heart rate, systolic blood pressure, urinary output, and body weight was monitored from weaning to maturity and then compared with those responses from six sex- and age-matched Sprague-Dawley rats grown in a gravity environment (group G). A downward shift in systolic blood pressure and body weight maturation curves was observed in immersion-G rats from the age of 60 days. Cessation of dry water immersion produced a gradual, significant rise in systolic blood pressure but not in body weight to control values. No marked changes in heart rate and urinary output between G and immersion-G rats were noticed throughout the investigation. Our results provide indirect evidence that an interference in the natural history of blood pressure maturation was introduced by immersion, which dissociated the effects of body weight increase during growth from the effects of ageing per se. It is concluded that the physiological increase in systolic blood pressure during growth is partly gravity-dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-487
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • blood pressure
  • gravity
  • immersion
  • Sprague-Dawley rats
  • urine
  • weightlessness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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