Cardiac autonomic dysfunction is a serious complication of diabetes. One consequence is disruption of the normal beat-to-beat regulation ofheart rate (HR), i.e. HR variability (HRV). However, our understanding of the disease process has been limited by inconsistent HR/HRV data from previous animal studies. We hypothesized that differences in the method of measurement, time of day, and level of stress account for the differing results across studies. Thus, our aim was to systematically assess HR and HRV in two common diabetic mouse models.
ECG radiotelemetry devices were implanted into db/db (type-2 diabetic), STZ-treated db/+ (type-1 diabetic), and control db/+ mice (n=4 per group). HR and HRV were analyzed over 24h and during treadmill testing.
24h analysis revealed that db/db mice had an altered pattern of circadian HR changes, and STZ-treated mice had reduced HR throughout. HRV measures linked to sympathetic control were reduced in db/db mice in the early morning and early afternoon, and partially reduced in STZ-treated mice. HR response to treadmill testing was blunted in both models.
It is important to consider both time of day and level of stress when assessing HR and HRV in diabetic mice. db/db mice may have altered circadian rhythm of sympathetic control of HR, whereas STZ-treated mice have a relative reduction. This study provides baseline data and a framework for HR analysis that may guide future investigations.