Oxygen transport during progressive hypoxia in high-altitude and sea-level waterfowl

Respiration Physiology
C P Black, S M Tenney


Under conditions of progressive hypoxia, oxygen transport was compared in bar-headed geese (Anser indicus), a species which breeds on the Tibetan Plateau and migrates at altitudes up to 9200 m, and Pekin ducks (Anas platyrhynchos, forma domestica), a similarly sized, sea-level water fowl that does not fly. Pekin ducks showed no altitude-induced behavioral effects (e.g., restlessness) up to 7620 m, while bar-headed geese tolerated 10,668 m with no observable behavioral changes. Ventilatory and cardiac responses to hypoxia as functions of PaO2 followed a typical hyperbolic contour, but the response began at almost 20 Torr lower in the bar-headed goose. Both ventilation and cardiac output appeared to follow a common response curve for the two species, when the independent variable was expressed as arterial oxygen content. The goose had a high oxygen affinity hemoglobin, compared with the duck; the oxyhemoglobin curves of both shifted slightly to the right as a result of acclimation to 5640 m; but only the duck developed erythrocytosis as a consequence of acclimation. Under sea level conditions the duck maintained a higher mixed venous PO2, but with acute hypoxic exposures PVO2 was higher in the goose. Following acclimation, card...Continue Reading


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