Oxygen transport of hemoglobin in high altitude animals (Camelidae)

C. Reynafarje, J. Faura, D. Villavicencio, A. Curaca, B. Reynafarje, L. Oyola, L. Contreras, E. Vallenas, A. Faura

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46 Scopus citations


To clarify the mechanisms by which high altitude Camelidae can adapt to hypoxia, the study of some blood characteristics were carried out in alpacas and llamas. The results show that there is a peculiar dissociation curve of hemoglobin in alpacas which permits great affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen at lung level and the release of oxygen at the tissue level with a facility to that in man. Fetal hemoglobin was high in adult alpacas (55%). Electrophoretic studies of hemoglobin showed that this pigment has 3 components, both of which have a very low mobility. Lactic dehydrogenase was 6 times higher in humans. RBC glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase was 2 times higher than in man living at the same altitude. Myoglobin was higher than in man living at altitude. Alpacas have erythrocytes in which the amount of 2,3 DPG is approximately the same as in man. RBC are more resistent to hypotonic solutions than humans. Te amount of lactic dehydrogenase, myoglobin, and glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase diminishes when alpacas are brought down to sea level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)806-810
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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