Cold-induced stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, causing hypertension and proteinuria in rats

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ObjectiveTo determine whether cold-stress stimulation of the soles of the paws would produce a preeclampsialike syndrome in rats.MethodsPregnant or nonpregnant rats were kept in 0°C floor and 23°C room temperature cages (the cold-stressed group) or in 23°C floor and 23°C room temperature cages (the control group) for 2 weeks. Their blood pressure, proteinuria, and plasma catecholamines were measured, and histologic studies were performed on all groups.ResultsThere were no significant differences in systolic blood pressure between the two groups during the first week of the experimental period; however, during the last week of gestation the blood pressure of the cold-stressed group did not fall and was significantly higher than that of the control group. A significant increase in urinary protein excretion was observed in the cold-stimulated pregnant rats, in contrast to the control rats. The concentrations of norepinephrine and epinephrine in the cold-stressed pregnant rats were markedly higher than those in the control rats. A decrease in trophoblast invasion, congestion, and fibrinoid deposits of the labyrinth were observed in the cold-stressed rats. A marked increase in subendothelial fibrinoid deposits in the glomerular capillary was found only in the cold- stressed pregnant rats. The blood pressure, biochemical parameters, and histologic findings in the nonpregnant rats were almost the same as those in the pregnant rats.ConclusionChronic local cold stimulation of the soles of the paws induces preeclampsia-like phenomena in pregnant and nonpregnant rats, and this model suggests that the cause of preeclampsia is involved in chronic stimulation of the sympathetic nerve.

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