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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01839

Forced Swim Reliability for Exercise Testing in Rats by a Tethered Swimming Apparatus

 Ivan G. Masselli Dos Reis1*, Luiz E. Martins2, Gustavo G. de Araujo3 and Claudio A. Gobatto1*
  • 1Faculdade de Ciências Aplicadas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil
  • 2Faculty of Physical Education, State University of Campinas, Brazil
  • 3Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil

To assess the physical capacity of rats in forced swim tests, the animal should perform a continuous activity (CON) at the surface to avoid apnea. Bobbing movement (BOB), vigorous paddling known as climbing (CLI), and diving activity (DIV) are inadequate swimming patterns known to increase the exercise intensity variability, impairing the test reliability. Thus, the exercise work accomplished and related physiological variables, such as the blood lactate concentration, may be unreproducible in forced swim. This study aimed to verify the exercise work reproducibility in rats with a 30-minute test-retest at maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) intensity using a tethered-swimming apparatus that analyzes swimming patterns by the direct measurement of swimming force. Additionally, it was determined the swimming force and duration of CON, BOB, CLI, and DIV at physiologically different exercise-intensities. The swimming force at MLSS (n=64) was 38±7 gf.Kg-1, while the blood lactate concentration was 4.2±1.6 mmol.L−1. In the test-retest (N=23), swimming force (36.6±7 gf.Kg-1 vs 36.4±7 gf.Kg-1) and blood lactate concentration (4.7±1.7 mmol.L−1 vs 4.2±1.7 mmol.l−1) were similar, but only the swimming force was highly correlated (0.90 and 0.31). Although it was not statistically different, the swimming force for CON tends to be slightly lower than CLI and slightly higher than BOB independently of exercise-intensity. The CON pattern predominates (~52.8±18%) at intensities below and of MLSS but BOB was the swimming patterns more often observed above MLSS-intensity (52.6±18%). The present study used a tethered swimming apparatus to investigate the reliability of forced swim tests for exercise testing in rats and better understand the swimming patterns when determining the MLSS, but the results can be extended to any study that rely on forced swim for exercise testing and training. The result suggests that, at least at intensities of physiological stability, the exercise work accomplished by rats is reproducible in forced swim, but the blood lactate concentration seems to be affected by other factors, such as the apnea and stress caused by the possibility of drowning, besides the exercise-intensity.

Keywords: Exercise physiology, exercise testing, Exercise prescription, Anaerobic Threshold, aerobic capacity

Received: 26 Jul 2018; Accepted: 06 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Gary Iwamoto, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States

Reviewed by:

Masaki Mizuno, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, United States
Kazuhiko Higashida, University of Shiga Prefecture, Japan  

Copyright: © 2018 Masselli Dos Reis, Martins, de Araujo and Gobatto. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Ivan G. Masselli Dos Reis, Faculdade de Ciências Aplicadas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Limeira, 13484-350, São Paulo, Brazil, ivanbarizom@hotmail.com
Dr. Claudio A. Gobatto, Faculdade de Ciências Aplicadas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Limeira, 13484-350, São Paulo, Brazil, claudio.gobatto@fca.unicamp.br