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Blood rheology adjustments in rats after a program of intermittent exposure to hypobaric hypoxia

, : Blood rheology adjustments in rats after a program of intermittent exposure to hypobaric hypoxia. High Altitude Medicine & Biology 10(3): 275-281

Intermittent hypobaric hypoxia (IHH) exposure induces a rise in hemoglobin concentration and an increase in erythrocyte mass in both rats and humans. Although this response increases blood oxygen transport capacity, paradoxically, it could impair blood flow and gas exchange because of the blood viscosity alterations associated with the rising hematocrit. In the present study, male rats were subjected to an IHH program consisting of a daily 4-h session for 5 days/week until they had completed 22 days of hypoxia exposure in a hypobaric chamber at a simulated altitude of 5000 m. Blood samples were taken at the end of the exposure period (H) and at 20 (P20) and 40 (P40) days after the end of the program and were compared to control (C) maintained at sea- level pressure. Apparent blood viscosity (eta(a)) and plasma viscosity (eta(p)) were measured in a cone-plate microviscometer. Although the hematocrit significantly increased in the H group, blood apparent viscosity did not differ among groups, ranging from 7.67 to 6.57 mPa*sec at a shear rate of 90 sec(-1). Relative blood viscosity showed a clear increase (about 27%) in H rats, mainly due to the significant decrease in plasma viscosity. This finding could be interpreted as a compensatory response, which reduced the effect of increased erythrocyte mass volume on whole-blood viscosity. Oxygen delivery index and blood oxygen potential transport capacity remained unchanged in all groups. These data indicate that the IHH program has a deep but transitory effect on red cell parameters and a moderate effect on blood rheological behavior.


PMID: 19775218

DOI: 10.1089/ham.2008.1086

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