A novel swimming performance test in rats
Veskoukis, Aristidis S.
Nikolaidis, Michalis G.
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Swimming is an advantageous exercise modality since it induces limited muscle damage. Performance is a crucial endpoint measurement of physiological relevance in exercise physiology and clinical settings alike. To our knowledge, the literature lacks a comprehensive and widely accepted swimming performance protocol without suffering from high variability in time to exhaustion. Thus, the present study presents an easily carried out, two-phased swimming performance incremental test exhibiting low variability in the time to exhaustion among rats. All nine rats managed to complete the first 12 min-part of the test (phase 1) with gradually increased loads attached at the base of their tails equal to 2%, 3.5% and 5% (for 4 min each). All rats reached exhaustion at the 10% final load (phase 2). The mean swimming time until exhaustion, as a measure for defining exercise performance, was 865 ± 59 s. In conclusion, we have presented in detail a novel protocol for practically and satisfactorily measuring swimming performance in rats characterized by low variability in the time to exhaustion. This protocol, with the appropriate modifications, can be applied to a wide spectrum of experimental treatments.