Rats utilize their tails as their primary means of thermoregulation. Tail vessels dilate to dissipate heat and constrict to conserve heat. Since the tail is easy to access and instrument, it makes rats, and their tails, an ideal model for studying thermoregulation control mechanisms.
Thermoregulation is controlled by both the nervous and endocrine systems, making it susceptible to a range of pathologies and pharmacological agents. Understanding how the blood flow in the rat’s tail changes with various conditions can provide key insight into the nervous system response without having to directly probe the brain.
Laser Doppler tissue perfusion measurements provide information about changes in the localized vascular bed. While, measuring volume flow with a Perivascular flow probe in the ventral artery allows for quantitative assessment of blood flow to the tail.