Intracellular pH in hibernation and respiratory acidosis in the European hamster

J Comp Physiol B. 1985;156(2):251-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00695780.


Intracellular pH was determined (DMO method) in European hamsters, in the spontaneously-occurring respiratory acidosis of hibernation, in hypercapnia due to breathing 12% CO2 in air in euthermy in spring, and in euthermicnormocapnic controls. From euthermy to hibernation, the temperature coefficient of pH was lowest in blood plasma and brain, intermediate in striated muscles (thigh muscles and diaphragm), and highest in heart and liver (Fig. 1). Correspondingly, the estimated dissociation ratio of the protein imidazole buffer groups, alpha Im, decreased markedly in plasma and brain, denoting an acid titration, but varied little in liver and heart. Striated muscles were intermediate (Fig. 2). Like in other mammals, intracellular responses to short-term euthermic respiratory acidosis were characterized by a partial metabolic compensation in the brain and a small metabolic acidification in striated muscles. In hibernation, a powerful metabolic compensation took place in liver and heart, nearly restoring alpha Im, but none occurred in brain (Figs. 3 to 5). The existence of an intracellular acidosis in brain and striated muscles during hibernation is in keeping with an inhibitory role of acidosis, whereas the homeostasis of intracellular alpha Im in liver and heart would subserve the eurythermal functioning of metabolic regulations in these organs, like in most organs of ectotherms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis, Respiratory / metabolism
  • Acidosis, Respiratory / veterinary*
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature
  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Cricetinae / metabolism*
  • Hibernation*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hypercapnia / metabolism
  • Hypercapnia / veterinary
  • Male
  • Rodent Diseases / metabolism
  • Seasons