Show Summary Details
Page of

Oxygen and the Gradients of Life 

Oxygen and the Gradients of Life
Oxygen and the Gradients of Life

James R. Munis

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 08 May 2021

Physiologically, what is the difference between a patient undergoing deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and another patient who has died and cooled to the same temperature? The answer resides inside the cells. During hypothermic arrest, physiologic functions of whole-organ systems are temporarily arrested, but the cells are still busy. Cellular metabolism is also slowed, but it's not completely stopped. One difference between the hypothermic-arrest patient and the dead patient is that the former has live cells and the latter has dead cells. And furthermore, one of the differences between live cells and dead cells is that live cells maintain certain important gradients across their membranes. Another difference is that dead cells have no metabolism. We often refer to cellular metabolism as ‘respiration,’ and we measure it by calculating how much oxygen is being used. This brings us to oxygen. Why do we define cellular metabolism in terms of oxygen consumption?

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.