Opening New Vistas
The decision by the editorial board of Hypertension to create an online section of the journal follows a growing effort in scientific publishing to use electronic publishing to more quickly disseminate new information to the scientific community in future research. This electronic format has several benefits. First, the all-electronic format greatly decreases the time between submission and publication, thus facilitating the release of research information that is important for subsequent investigations. Over the past decade, the submission to publication time has greatly improved in most journals, including Hypertension, but the delay still typically remains over four months. In contrast, electronic publication can cut this delay to as little as a month or less. Second, many of the mainline scientific journals like Hypertension currently have no venue for publication of methodological papers, even though some like the current one may be of considerable value to the readership. Most methods-oriented cardiovascular manuscripts are eventually published as “Special Communications” in the Regulatory or Heart sections of The American Journal of Physiology. The electronic format provides an excellent medium for rapid dissemination of information describing valuable laboratory techniques that are related to hypertension. These articles will be rapidly available to the targeted audience and should be as respected as the print edition articles, because both undergo the same rigorous review process. Together, these complimentary mediums should increase the already high impact factor of Hypertension. Third, literature searches and access to journals are increasingly utilizing the internet and this method of acquisition of information will likely become the predominant means by which researchers access scientific information in the future. Manuscripts that are published in electronic format are indexed in the journal contents page and by nearly all literature search programs, thus reducing fears that the electronic articles will be overlooked or quickly forgotten. Fourth, the use of electronic media will greatly reduce the cost of scientific publishing for both the journals and the investigator and potentially provide a mechanism by which selected and reviewed information can be appended to an article (see, eg, Brain Research).
Our current paper is the first to describe long-term telemetric recording in mice. Telemetry has become the “gold standard” for recording blood pressure and heart rate in rats for several reasons. First, the probes are completely contained within the animal and remove the stress of tethering, restraint, arousal, and handling that is associated with catheterization and tail-cuff monitoring. Second, radiotelemetry facilitates continuous 24-hour recording of arterial pressure, heart rate, and activity. Because rats are nocturnal, the nighttime represents the active period; however, because it is relatively impractical to conduct experiments at night, and inconvenient to reverse the light/dark cycle in most animal facilities, most researchers have opted to monitor arterial pressure during the daytime period when the rats normally sleep. Radiotelemetric monitoring has made nighttime monitoring much more accessible to the researcher and facilitated circadian rhythm analysis of the cardiovascular system. By exploiting these advantages, research using this method has elucidated several important aspects of blood pressure control.
The recent development of smaller telemetry probes opens the door for long-term monitoring of arterial pressure and heart rate in mice, thus facilitating the characterization of the mechanisms underlying cardiovascular regulation in the species from which almost all transgenic models are derived. However, the use of newly developed telemetry probes in mice has largely been frustrating and unsuccessful for most researchers. The newly developed probes were not recommended for mice under 30 grams body weight (a size heavier than most transgenic mice) because of the high probability that the probe would occlude the aorta in smaller mice. Even with larger mice, the success rate was relatively poor for most research groups. The present study describes an implantation protocol that has a very high success rate even in mice as small as 19 grams. The results also demonstrate that the probes are highly responsive to arterial pressure challenges; in the present study mice were challenged with a high (8%) NaCl diet. By rapidly distributing this new method via electronic publishing, we hope that it will assist hypertension researchers in unlocking the potential offered by transgenic models.
The opinions expressed in this editorial are not necessarily those of the editors or of the American Heart Association.