Neurons, Glia and Ions in Hypoxia, Hypercapnia and Acidosis

  • Alfred Lehmenkühler
  • Heinz Caspers
  • Erwin-Josef Speckmann
  • Dieter Bingmann
  • Hans G. Lipinski
  • Ulrich Kersting
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 35)


Effects of hypoxia, hypercapnia and/or acidosis on membrane properties were investigated in cortical neurons, glial cells and spinal neurons in-vivo as well as in pyramidal cells of hippocampal slice preparations and in cultured sensory spinal ganglion (SSG) cells in-vitro.

  1. (1)

    O 2 -pressure: Studies on SSG cells revealed that the membrane potential of these neurons were highly insensitive to lowering of the bath PO2 down to 5 mmHg. CA3 neurons in hippocampal slices found in layers remote from the interface between tissue and bath fluid depolarized during hypoxia. The same reaction was observed in spinal as well as in neocortical neurons and in glial cells in-vivo. The neuronal depolarization was often preceded by a transient hyperpolarization. The hypoxia-induced decreases of membrane potentials corresponded to changes of K+ concentration in the extracellular fluid.

  2. (2)

    pH and CO 2 -pressure: SSG cells depolarized when pH in the bath was lowered. When PCO2 was elevated at constant bicarbonate concentrations in the bath, SSG cells depolarized as well. In bath fluid, however, containing buffer proteins like hemoglobin SSG cells were found to hyper-polarize during hypercapnia. Hyperpolarization occurred also when the bicarbonate concentration in the bath fluid was raised during hypercapnic periods. When the extracellular milieu of superficial CA3 neurons in hippocampal slices was predominantly determined by the ionic composition of the bath fluid, hypercapnia depolarized these cells. Neurons in the innermost layers of the slice and the overwhelming majority of spinal motoneurones as well as neocortical nerve cells, however, hyperpolarized in-vivo with the postsynaptic potentials simultaneously being reduced. In contrast to this neuronal response, glial cells were found to depolarize during hypercapnia. Simultaneous measurements of the extracellular ionic milieu showed a rise of extracellular K+ concentration which may in part be due to a specific increase of the neuronal K+ conductance.



Membrane Potential Glial Cell Hippocampal Slice Neurochemical Pathology Tortuosity Factor 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfred Lehmenkühler
    • 1
  • Heinz Caspers
    • 1
  • Erwin-Josef Speckmann
    • 1
  • Dieter Bingmann
    • 1
  • Hans G. Lipinski
    • 1
  • Ulrich Kersting
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Physiologie/Bereich NeurophysiologieUniversität MünsterMünsterF.R.Germany

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