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Impact of gonadectomy on blood pressure regulation in ageing male and female rats

Pijacka, Wioletta; Clifford, Bethan; Walas, Dawid; Tilburgs, Chantal; Joles, Jaap A.; McMullen, Sarah; Langley-Evans, Simon C.


Wioletta Pijacka

Bethan Clifford

Dawid Walas

Chantal Tilburgs

Jaap A. Joles

Sarah McMullen


Sexual dimorphism in blood pressure has been associated with differential expression of the angiotensin II (AII) receptors and with activity of the nervous system. It is generally accepted that aging affects kidney function as well as autonomic nervous system and hormonal balance. Given that hypertension is more prevalent in men than women until women reach their seventh decade we hypothesised that females would be relatively protected from adverse effects of ageing compared to males, and that this would be mediated by the protective effect of ovarian steroids. Intact and gonadectomised male and female normotensive Wistar rats aged 6, 12 and 18 months were used to study renal function, blood pressure, heart rate and blood pressure variability. We observed that intact females had lower levels of proteinuria and higher (12.5%) creatinine clearance compared to intact males, and that this difference was abolished by castration but not by ovariectomy. Ovariectomy resulted in a change by 9% in heart rate, resulting in similar cardiovascular parameters to those observed in males or gonadectomised males. Spectral analysis of systolic blood pressure revealed that high frequency power spectra were significantly elevated in the females vs. males and were reduced by ovariectomy. Taken altogether the results show that females are protected from age-related declining renal function and to a lesser extent from rising blood pressure in comparison to males. Whilst ovariectomy had some deleterious effects in females, the strongest effects were associated with gonadectomy in males, suggesting a damaging effect of male hormones.


Pijacka, W., Clifford, B., Walas, D., Tilburgs, C., Joles, J. A., McMullen, S., & Langley-Evans, S. C. (2016). Impact of gonadectomy on blood pressure regulation in ageing male and female rats. Biology of Sex Differences, 7, Article 64.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 19, 2016
Publication Date Dec 3, 2016
Deposit Date Oct 24, 2016
Publicly Available Date Dec 3, 2016
Journal Biology of Sex Differences
Electronic ISSN 2042-6410
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Article Number 64
Keywords gonadectomy, blood pressure, renal function
Public URL
Publisher URL


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