The lethal response of Chinese hamster ovary cells to hyperthermia was determined at selected extracellular pH. Decreasing pH from 7.6 to 6.7 increased the lethal response of cells over the temperature range of 41 to 44°C. Cell viability was not effected over this pH range at 37°C. The pH sensitizing affect was most prominent at temperatures which were marginally lethal at normal pH (7.4). Four hours of exposure to 42°C decreased survival to 10% at pH 7.4 and 0.01% at pH 6.7. Enhanced cell killing was observed when the cells were exposed to reduced pH and elevated temperatures simultaneously. Prolonging the time of pH exposure before and after hyperthermia did not influence survival. High-density culturing increased the sensitivity of cells to hyperthermia. This affect was due to metabolic acidification of the medium and could be reversed by adjusting the pH.
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The pH Effect
Vol. 178 • No. 2