Metabolism and ventilation in hypoxic rats: effect of body mass

Respiration Physiology
J P MortolaL Naso

Abstract

Oxygen consumption (VO2) and carbon dioxide production (VCO2) were measured by the flow-through method, and ventilation (VE) by the barometric technique in post-weaning age rats of 50, 100, 250 and 400 g, (5 males and 5 females in each group), at ambient temperature congruent to 24 degrees C. In normoxia, VO2, VCO2 and VE decreased with the increase in body weight (BW), whether normalization was by BW or by BW minus the weights of fat and skeleton; VE/VO2 and rectal temperature remained constant. In hypoxia (10% inspired O2), VE VO2 increased in all groups, to 2-2.5 times the normoxic values, because of a significant increase in VE (hyperpnea) and decrease in VO2 (hypometabolism); arterial PCO2, measured in some 100 g and 400 g rats, dropped similarly. However, the hyperpnea was about twice as large, and metabolism and body temperature decreased significantly less, in the 400 g than in the 50 g rats. The cost (ml O2) of breathing, computed in the paralysed animal artificially ventilated, averaged approximately 0.7% (normoxia) and 2% of VO2 (hypoxia), with no systematic differences with BW. The results agree with the concept that the metabolic response to hypoxia can be an important determinant of the magnitude of the hyperpnea.

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