Survial of fasted rats exposed to altitude

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1976 Dec;54(6):883-6. doi: 10.1139/y76-123.


Rats fasted for 48-96h before exposure were shown to have a longer survival time at groups 33,500 ft (1 ft = 0.305 m) simulated altitude than nonfasted controls. Although both become hypothermic at 33500 ft, colonic temperatures of the fasted rats were not sufficiently lower than those of nonfasted animals to explain the difference in survival time. The injection of glucose and insulin before exposure almost completely eliminated the protection afforded by fasting, whereas glucose alone had no effect on survival. It is therefore suggested that an alteration in carbohydrate metabolism, possibly in combination with other starvation-induced changes, allowed fasted rats to survive at 33500 ft until declining body temperature reduced metabolic rate to a level compatible with oxygen supply.

MeSH terms

  • Altitude Sickness / drug therapy
  • Altitude Sickness / metabolism
  • Altitude Sickness / mortality*
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Temperature
  • Fasting*
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Hypoxia / mortality*
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Glucose