Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 153, Issue 2, pp 275–288 | Cite as

Lactate and glucose metabolism in the resting and diving harbor seal (Phoca vitulina)

  • Randall W. Davis


The rates of lactate and glucose production, removal, and oxidation were measured in harbor seals before and after 10 min restrained dives using radioisotope tracer techniques. The results show:
  1. 1.

    Net turnover rates were 24 μmol·min−1·kg−1 for lactate and 12 μmol·min−1·kg−1 for glucose at rest (Table 2).

  2. 2.

    Only 21% of lactate turnover and 3% of glucose turnover were oxidized. Their combined oxidation contributed less than 9% to resting energy production.

  3. 3.

    During 10 min dives, there was 9 fold increase in lactate production.

  4. 4.

    Less than 27% of the lactate produced during diving was oxidized during recovery.

  5. 5.

    The blood glucose concentration decreased 1 mM during diving, but increased and remained elevated for 2 h after the dive (Fig. 5 and 6). The postdive hyperglycemia resulted from a high glucose entry rate which lasted 10–15 min after the dive. A peak entry rate of 168 μmol·min−1·kg−1 was measured 30 sec after a dive.

  6. 6.

    In spite of the postdive hyperglycemia, glucose oxidation was only 11% higher than predive levels.

  7. 7.

    The predive concentration of plasma free fatty acids (FFA) was similar to other arctic carnivores (Fig. 9).



Lactate Glucose Production Blood Glucose Concentration Lactate Production Glucose Oxidation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randall W. Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.Physiological Research Laboratory, A-004Scripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA

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