Responses to Chronic Hypoxia in Embryonic Alligators

J Exp Zool. 1995 Sep 1;273(1):44-50. doi: 10.1002/jez.1402730106.


To investigate developmental responses to chronic hypoxia, we incubated alligator eggs at 17% O2 and 21% O2 for the entire course of embryonic development and for 5 months post-hatching. Hypoxic-incubated alligators hatched later and at a smaller size. Hematocrit was significantly higher in hypoxic-incubated animals immediately post-hatch. Allosteric modification of hemoglobin oxygen affinity did not appear to play a role in the adaptation to hypoxia, given equal nucleotide triphosphate-to-hemoglobin ratios in the hypoxic and normoxic groups. When acutely exposed to 21% O2, hypoxic-incubated alligators maintained oxygen consumption relative to their normoxic siblings despite their lower mass.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alligators and Crocodiles / embryology*
  • Animals
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology*
  • Heart / embryology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Hypoxia*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Regression Analysis