The fate of extracellular glucose in blood isolated from sea raven (Hemitripterus americanus) and rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) was determined. In blood from both species incubated in vitro at low physiological pH, the decrease in plasma glucose concentration was more than adequate to support oxygen consumption. Glucose disappearance could not be accounted for by increases in lactate, red blood cell (RBC) glucose or RBC glycogen concentrations. Rates of 14CO2 production from [6-14C]glucose over a 2 h incubation period were less than 1 % of metabolic rate. Only small amounts of label appeared in RBC protein, lipid or glycogen fractions relative to metabolic rates, but label accumulated in the intracellular acid-soluble fraction (presumably free glucose, glycolytic intermediates, amino acids, citric acid cycle intermediates, etc.) at rates consistent with oxygen consumption and glucose disappearance. The simplest explanation for the mismatch between 14CO2 production and the other estimates of metabolic rate is that incubation times were too short for equilibration to occur. A consequence is that studies of this nature cannot use 14CO2 production to elucidate rates of aerobic fuel utilization. By default, the data imply that glucose serves as a primary aerobic metabolic fuel for the RBCs, at least under some conditions.

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