International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 201–210 | Cite as

Effects of chronic normobaric hypoxic and hypercapnic exposure in rats: Prevention of experimental chronic mountain sickness by hypercapnia

  • B. Lincoln
  • H. L. Bonkovsky
  • Lo -Chang Ou


A syndrome of experimental chronic mountain sickness can be produced in the Hilltop strain of Sprague-Dawley rats by chronic hypobaric hypoxic exposure. This syndrome is characterized by polycythemia, plasma hemoglobinemia, pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular hypertrophy with eventual failure and death. It has generally been assumed that these changes are caused by chronic hypoxemia, not by hypobaric exposureper se. We have now confirmed this directly by showing that chronic normobaric hypoxic exposure (10.5% O2) produces similar hematologic and hemodynamic changes. Further, the addition of hypercapnic exposure to the hypoxic exposure blunted or prevented the effects of the hypoxic exposure probably by stimulating respiration, thus increasing the rate of oxygen delivery to the cells. Changes in the rate-controlling enzymes of hepatic heme metabolism, 5-aminolevulinate synthase and heme oxygenase, and in cytochrome(s) P-450, the major hepatic hemoprotein(s), were also measured in hypoxic and hypercapnic rats. Hypoxia decreased 5-aminolevulinate synthase and increased cytochrome(s) P-450, probably by increasing the size of a “regulatory” heme pool within hepatocytes. These changes were also prevented by the addition of hypercapnic to hypoxic exposure.


Respiration Pulmonary Hypertension Ventricular Hypertrophy Oxygen Delivery Heme Oxygenase 
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Copyright information

© Swets & Zeitlinger 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Lincoln
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. L. Bonkovsky
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lo -Chang Ou
    • 3
  1. 1.Hepatology Research LaboratoryVeterans Administration HospitalWhite River Junction
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryDartmouth Medical SchoolHanover
  3. 3.Department of PhysiologyDartmouth Medical SchoolHanover

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