The Remarkable Cardiovascular System of Giraffes

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewForskningfagfællebedømt

Gravity affects the physiology of many animals, and the effect is, for good reason, most pronounced in tall species. The physiologymdashin particular, cardiovascular functionmdashof giraffes has therefore captivated the interest of physiologists for centuries. Several studies document high mean arterial blood pressure of giraffes of about 200 mm Hg. This appears necessary to establish a cerebral perfusion pressure on the order of 100 mm Hg at the cranial end of the carotid arteries. Here, we discuss the unique characteristics of blood vessels, the heart, and the kidney of giraffes and how these functional and structural adaptations are related to very high blood pressure. We also discuss how the cerebral circulation of giraffes is established and what we know about how the blood flow and arterial and venous pressures in giraffes change when they stop to drink and subsequently lift their heads 5-6 m in one sweeping movement.

TidsskriftAnnual Review of Physiology
Sider (fra-til)1-15
StatusUdgivet - 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
We are deeply indebted to our many good friends and colleagues from Denmark, Canada, Sweden, the United States, and South Africa that have participated in experiments, discussions, and interpretations within The Danish Cardiovascular Research Program (DaGiR) over the past 15 years. DaGiR has received funding from various sources, and we are particularly grateful to the Faculty of Health Science and Faculty of Natural Sciences at Aarhus University, the Aarhus University Research Foundation, Carlsbergfondet, The Danish Heart Association, the Aase and Ejnar Danielsen Foundation, and the Danish Council for Independent Research, Natural Sciences (Det Frie Forskningsråd/Natur og Univers, FNU) for supporting DaGiR.

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