Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology

Time-course of the polycythemic response in normoxic and hypoxic mice with high blood oxygen affinity induced by cyanate administration.

PMID 7738235


The Hb-O2 affinity and the erythropoietic response as a function of time were studied in mice treated with sodium cyanate for up to 2 months. Cyanate increased the Hb-O2 affinity in normoxic mice more than in chronically hypoxic mice. The hemoglobin concentration rose as a function of time both in normoxic and hypoxic conditions but reached higher levels in hypoxia. After 42 days of study (21 days of hypoxia) hemoglobin reached maximum levels and thereafter showed a plateau in both cyanate and control animals. It is concluded that a chronic left-shifted oxygen dissociation curve does not avoid the development of hypoxic polycythemia in mice. Moreover, prolonged cyanate administration potentiates the erythropoietic response to chronic hypoxia. Since polycythemia is an index of tissue hypoxia, the results show that the high hemoglobin affinity did not prevent tissue hypoxia in low PO2 conditions. Results showing beneficial effects of high hemoglobin oxygen affinity induced by cyanate based on acute hypoxic expositions should be cautiously interpreted with regard to their adaptive value in animals chronically exposed to natural or simulated hypoxia.

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Sodium cyanate, 96%