Letter | Published:

Uptake of Potassium at Low Temperatures in Kidney Cortex Slices of Hibernating Mammals

Nature volume 204, pages 691693 (14 November 1964) | Download Citation

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Abstract

IN hibernating hamsters and ground squirrels cationic concentration gradients between tissue cells and plasma are undiminished1,2. This fact probably accounts for the ability of the excitable tissues of these species to retain high resting potentials3, to conduct action potentials3–5 and to regulate fibre water content6 at the exceptionally low body temperatures of hibernation. In most mammalian tissues at normal, high body temperature the maintenance of cationic gradients across cell membranes is an active process requiring the expenditure of metabolic energy by mechanisms which transport cations against electrochemical gradients in the face of passive leaks. The question arises whether gradients continue to exist during hibernation because these mechanisms still function or because membranes are less permeable to ions at low temperature.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Illinois, Urbana.

    • J. S. WILLIS

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/204691a0

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