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Effect of treadmill running and swimming on plasma and brain vasopressin levels in rats


The influence of treadmill or swimming exercise on resting values of plasma and brain arginine vasopressin (AVP), and plasma sodium, potassium, osmolality and proteins was studied after 5 weeks of training using female Wistar rats. The duration of daily training sessions was progressively increased to reach 6 h/ day for swim training (S) and 3 h/day for treadmill running (T). Compared to their untrained controls, treadmill and swim training were respectively associated with: 1. a significant lower body weight; 2. a decreased plasma AVP (36.4% for T and 47.4% for S) and hypothalamic AVP (20% for T and 16% for S); 3. a higher hypophyseal AVP (145% for T and 36.3 for S); 4. a decreased plasma osmolality (6.7% for T and 6.1% for S), sodium (1.2% for both) and potassium. (15% for T and 22.4% for S); and 5. no change in protein concentration. For T, rectal temperature increased (38.5±0.20 to 39.7±0.5) and for S rectal temperature decreased from 38.6±0.12 to 37.74±0.10).

The differences observed in AVP contents of the pineal and Harderian glands (enhanced only in the treadmill groups) could be explained by the supposed role of these glands in thermoregulation. Two conclusions could be drawn from this study: 1. there are no parallel changes in the hypotrtalamo-hypophyseal system (where AVP plays its endocrine role) and the brain (where AVP is a neurotransmitter); 2. plasma changes could be explained by an extracellular fluid expansion with Na and K loss leading to a decrease in AVP secretion.

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Correspondence to C. Gharib.

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Ghaemmaghami, F., Gauquelin, G., Gharib, C. et al. Effect of treadmill running and swimming on plasma and brain vasopressin levels in rats. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 56, 1–6 (1987).

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  • Vasopressin
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Brain
  • Plasma osmolality