Seasonal changes in the cardiorespiratory responses to hypercarbia and temperature in the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 1999 Oct;124(2):221-9. doi: 10.1016/s1095-6433(99)00119-1.


We assessed the seasonal variations in the effects of hypercarbia (3 or 5% inspired CO2) on cardiorespiratory responses in the bullfrog Rana catesbeiana at different temperatures (10, 20 and 30 degrees C). We measured breathing frequency, blood gases, acid-base status, hematocrit, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen consumption. At 20 and 30 degrees C, the rate of oxygen consumption had a tendency to be lowest during winter and highest during summer. Hypercarbia-induced changes in breathing frequency were proportional to body temperature during summer and spring, but not during winter (20 and 30 degrees C). Moreover, during winter, the effects of CO2 on breathing frequency at 30 degrees C were smaller than during summer and spring. These facts indicate a decreased ventilatory sensitivity during winter. PaO2 and pHa showed no significant change during the year, but PaCO2 was almost twice as high during winter than in summer and spring, indicating increased plasma bicarbonate levels. The hematocrit values showed no significant changes induced by temperature, hypercarbia or season, indicating that the oxygen carrying capacity of blood is kept constant throughout the year. Decreased body temperature was accompanied by a reduction in heart rate during all four seasons, and a reduction in blood pressure during summer and spring. Blood pressure was higher during winter than during any other seasons whereas no seasonal change was observed in heart rate. This may indicate that peripheral resistance and/or stroke volume may be elevated during this season. Taken together, these results suggest that the decreased ventilatory sensitivity to hypercarbia during winter occurs while cardiovascular parameters are kept constant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Dioxide / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rana catesbeiana / physiology*
  • Respiration*
  • Seasons*
  • Temperature


  • Carbon Dioxide