31P-NMR measurements of pHi and high-energy phosphates in isolated turtle hearts during anoxia and acidosis Academic Article uri icon


  • We used 31P-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to measure intracellular pH (pHi) and high-energy phosphate levels in hearts of turtles (Chrysemys picta bellii) during either 4 h of anoxia [extracellular pH (pHo) 7.8, 97% N2-3% CO2], 4 h of lactic acidosis (pHo 7.0, 97% O2-3% CO2), or 1.5 h of combined anoxia + lactic acidosis (pHo 7.0, 97% N2-3% CO2) followed by 2 h of oxygenated recovery (pHo 7.8) at 20 degrees C. We also measured heart rate, maximum ventricular-developed pressure, and rate of pressure development (dP/dtmax). 31P-NMR spectra were characterized by the seven peaks typical of mammalian hearts, although turtle spectra were dominated by a large phosphodiester peak. Anoxia caused an increase in Pi to 165% and a decrease in creatine phosphate (CP) to 42% of control, whereas ATP levels remained unchanged. pHi declined from 7.37 +/- 0.01 to 7.22 +/- 0.03 at 1 h of anoxia and remained unchanged through hour 4. Lactic acidosis caused a 59% decrease in Pi, whereas CP and ATP levels remained unchanged. pHi fell to 6.88 +/- 0.04 by hour 1 and then climbed steadily to 7.14 +/- 0.05 at hour 4. During recovery from acidosis, pHi exceeded control values and returned to control by 2 h. Combined anoxia + acidosis caused profound decreases in CP to 14% and pHi to 6.56 +/- 0.03. In anoxic hearts, cardiodynamic variables remained at control levels through hour 3, after which cardiac output, heart rate, and dP/dtmax declined. Cardiodynamic variables were essentially unchanged from control throughout 4 h of acidosis except for dP/dtmax, which declined rapidly. In the combined protocol, all measures of cardiac function decreased. Recovery in all three cases was complete by approximately 2 h. We conclude that turtle hearts were relatively resistant to the stresses imposed in all three protocols compared with mammalian hearts, although anoxia + acidosis depressed the measured cardiac variables more profoundly than predicted from responses to the conditions imposed separately. Our results from the anoxia protocol suggest no direct causal relationship between myocardial CP (or ATP) levels and cardiac function.

author list (cited authors)

  • Wasser, J. S., Inman, K. C., Arendt, E. A., Lawler, R. G., & Jackson, D. C.

citation count

  • 40

publication date

  • September 1990