PMID: 237869Jun 1, 1975Paper

Incomplete compensation of CSF [H+] in man during acclimatization to high altitude (48300 M)

Journal of Applied Physiology
Hubert V ForsterL W Chosy


This study has assessed the regulation of arterial blood and cerebrospinal fluid acid-base status in seven healthy men, at 250 m altitude and after 5 and 10-11 days sojourn at 4,300 m altitude (PaO2 = 39 mmHg day 1 to 48 mmHg day 11). We assumed that observed changes in lumbar spinal fluid acid-base status paralleled those in cisternal CSF, under these relatively steady-state conditions. Ventilatory acclimatization during the sojourn (-14 mmHg PaCO2 at day 11) was accompanied by: 1) reductions in [HCO3-] (-5 to -7 meq/1) which were similar in arterial blood and CSF; 2) substantial, yet incomplete, compensation (70-75%) of both CSF and blood pH; and 3) a level of CSF pH which was maintained significantly alkaline (+0.05 +/- 0.01) to normoxic control values. These data at 4,300 m confirmed and extended our previous findings for more moderate conditions of chronic hypoxia. It was postulated that the magnitude and time course of pH compensation in the CSF during chronic hypoxia and/or hypocapnia are determined by corresponding changes in plasma [HCO2-].


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