PMID: 4077803Dec 1, 1985Paper

Ventilatory responses of hamsters and rats to hypoxia and hypercapnia

Journal of Applied Physiology
B R WalkerN F Voelkel


As a fossorial species the hamster differs in its natural habitat from the rat. Experiments were performed to determine possible differences between the ventilatory responses of awake hamsters and rats to acute exposure to hypoxic and hypercapnic environments. Ventilation was measured with the barometric method while the animals were conscious and unrestrained in a sealed plethysmograph. Tidal volume (VT), respiratory frequency (f), and inspiratory (TI) and expiratory (TE) time measurements were made while the animals breathed normoxic (30% O2), hypercapnic (5% CO2), or hypoxic (10% O2) gases. Arterial blood gases were also measured in both species while exposed to each of these atmospheric conditions. During inhalation of normoxic gas, the VT/100 g was greater and f was lower in the hamster than in the rat. Overall minute ventilation (VE/100 g) in the hamster was less than in the rat, which was reflected in the lower PO2 and higher PCO2 of the hamster arterial blood. When exposed to hypercapnia, the hamster increased VE/100 g solely through VT; however, the VE/100 g increase was significantly less than in the rat. In response to hypoxia, the hamster and rat increased VE/100 g by similar amounts; however, the hamster VE/100 g i...Continue Reading


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