1. Hepatic arterial and portal venous blood flow and hepatic oxygen consumption were measured in two groups of greyhounds anaesthetized with pentobarbitone. Flows were measured with electromagnetic flowmeters.
2. In the first group the effects of metabolic acidosis produced by the infusion of a molar solution of lactic acid were studied. In the second group the effects of metabolic alkalosis produced by the infusion of a molar solution of sodium bicarbonate were studied.
3. In the acidotic group hepatic arterial blood flow decreased from 35.2 to 9.6 ml min− 100 g− of liver whereas portal venous blood flow increased from 94.2 to 126.1 ml min− 100 g− of liver. Total liver blood flow was unchanged. Hepatic oxygen consumption increased, but not significantly, while hepatic venous oxygen content decreased significantly. Hepatic arterial resistance increased from 1.18 to 2.77 mmHg min− ml− while peripheral resistance was virtually unchanged. Portal venous pressure increased from 7.08 to 11.6 mmHg.
4. In the alkalotic group portal venous blood flow increased from 112 to 137 ml min− 100 g− of liver. Hepatic arterial blood flow increased, but not significantly. Total liver blood flow increased from 151 to 185, ml min− 100 mg− of liver. There were no significant changes in hepatic oxygen consumption.
5. It is concluded that metabolic acidosis reduces the supply of oxygen to the liver owing to the reduction in hepatic arterial blood flow and is therefore potentially harmful, whereas metabolic alkalosis probably has no biologically significant effect on liver blood flow.