Maintenance of ion concentration gradients in the cold in aorta from rat and ground squirrel

K. E. Kamm, M. L. Zatzman, A. W. Jones, F. E. South

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Cell water and ionic content were measured in aortic smooth muscle from rats and ground squirrels during 48 h of incubation in oxygenated Krebs solution held at low temperatures. Cells from the ground squirrel, a hibernator, maintained sodium and potassium contents near normal levels during incubation at 7°C. In sharp contrast, cells from the rat lost potassium and gained sodium with half times of 14 and 11 h, respectively. The [K] in cell water for the rat decreased 138 mM while [Na] in cell water increased about 148 mM. Cells from the hibernator tended to lose 10 mM K and gain 13 mM Na. Vascular smooth muscle of both the rat and squirrel was able to maintain K content at 17°C. Tissue content of the divalent cations Ca and Mg did not change in vessels from either animal. The present findings suggest that aortic smooth muscle cells from a hibernator have adapted in such a way as to maintain ionic gradients upon prolonged exposure to low temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C17-C22
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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