Effect of High Salt Diets on Reproductive Organs of the Rat

Mayer, David
Infertility rates among women all over the world are on the rise. What factors might cause this? Many differences in peoples' physiology are due to diet. With the promotion of westernized cuisine people are consuming more salt. The negative effects of a high salt diet are understood to be harmful, but could they be responsible for the increase in infertility? Recent research has determined a high salt diet can postpone puberty in a rat significantly. Taking a closer look at the how female rats' sexual organs are affected by a high salt diet might help us determine what is going on in humans. By looking at specific features in the ovaries of rats that have been fed different percentage salt diets, we might be able to broaden our understanding of morphological changes caused by a high salt diet. Sprague-Dawly rats (Rattus) act as a great model of human physiology. Female rats' completion of puberty is determined by vaginal opening. In recent research, the number of days that had passed before vaginal opening occurred was recorded in rats being fed different concentrations of salt in their food. The rats being fed higher concentrations of salt showed a delay in puberty. By taking a closer look at these rats' ovaries, a difference could be detected. This discovery could yield a better understanding of the consequences of a high salt diet. It is important to find causes of infertility in women, and modeling using a rat is a great place to start.
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