The i-STAT system, a portable clinical analyzer, is increasingly being used to assess blood parameters in fish. This study validated the i-STAT system on rainbow trout blood under a broad range of conditions. Results indicate that the i-STAT is not an appropriate tool for assessing most blood parameters in rainbow trout.
The evolution of air breathing during the Devonian provided early fishes with bimodal respiration with a stable O2 supply from air. This was, however, probably associated with challenges and trade-offs in terms of acid-base balance and ionoregulation due to reduced gill:water interaction and changes in gill morphology associated with air breathing. While many aspects of acid-base and ionoregulation in air-breathing fishes are similar to water breathers, the specific cellular and molecular mechanisms involved remain largely unstudied. In general, reduced ionic permeability appears to be an important adaptation in the few bimodal fishes investigated but it is not known if this is a general characteristic. The kidney appears to play an important role in minimizing ion loss to the freshwater environment in the few species investigated, and while ion uptake across the gut is probably important, it has been largely unexplored. In general, air breathing in facultative air-breathing fishes is associated with an acid-base disturbance, resulting in an increased partial pressure of arterial CO2 and a reduction in extracellular pH (pHE ); however, several fishes appear to be capable of tightly regulating tissue intracellular pH (pHI ), despite a large sustained reduction in pHE , a trait termed preferential pHI regulation. Further studies are needed to determine whether preferential pHI regulation is a general trait among bimodal fishes and if this confers reduced sensitivity to acid-base disturbances, including those induced by hypercarbia, exhaustive exercise and hypoxia or anoxia. Additionally, elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms may yield insight into whether preferential pHI regulation is a trait ultimately associated with the early evolution of air breathing in vertebrates.
SummaryEmbryos of freshwater snails undergo direct development from single cell to juvenile inside egg masses that are deposited on vegetation and other substratum in pond, lake and stream habitats. Helisoma trivolvis, a member of the Planorbidae family of basommatophoran snails, has served as a model for studying the developmental and physiological roles for neurotransmitters during embryogenesis. Early studies revealed that H. trivolvis embryos from stage E15 to E30, the period between gastrulation and the trochophore-juvenile transition, display a cilia-driven behaviour consisting of slow basal rotation and transient periods of rapid rotation. The discovery of a bilateral pair of early serotonergic neurons, named ENC1, which project an apical process to the embryo surface and basal neurites to ciliated cells, prompted the hypothesis that each ENC1 is a dual-function sensory and motor neuron mediating a physiological embryonic response. This article reviews our past and present studies and addresses questions concerning this hypothesis, including the following. (1) What environmental signal regulates ENC1 activity and rotational behaviour? (2) Does ENC1 function as both a primary sensory and motor neuron underlying the rotational behaviour? (3) What are the sensory transduction mechanisms? (4) How does ENC1 regulate ciliary beating? (5) Do other basommatophoran species have similar neural-ciliary pathways and behavioural responses? (6) How is the behaviour manifest in the dynamic natural environment? In this review, we introduce the 'embryo stir-bar hypothesis', which proposes that embryonic rotation is a hypoxiasensitive respiratory behaviour responsible for mixing the egg capsule fluid, thereby enhancing delivery of environmental oxygen to the embryo.
The regulation of vertebrate acid-base balance during acute episodes of elevated internal P CO2 is typically characterized by extracellular pH ( pH e ) regulation. Changes in pH e are associated with qualitatively similar changes in intracellular tissue pH ( pH i ) as the two are typically coupled, referred to as 'coupled pH regulation'. However, not all vertebrates rely on coupled pH regulation; instead, some preferentially regulate pH i against severe and maintained reductions in pH e . Preferential pH i regulation has been identified in several adult fish species and an aquatic amphibian, but never in adult amniotes. Recently, common snapping turtles were observed to preferentially regulate pH i during development; the pattern of acid-base regulation in these species shifts from preferential pH i regulation in embryos to coupled pH regulation in adults. In this Commentary, we discuss the hypothesis that preferential pH i regulation may be a general strategy employed by vertebrate embryos in order to maintain acid-base homeostasis during severe acute acid-base disturbances. In adult vertebrates, the retention or loss of preferential pH i regulation may depend on selection pressures associated with the environment inhabited and/or the severity of acid-base regulatory challenges to which they are exposed. We also consider the idea that the retention of preferential pH i regulation into adulthood may have been a key event in vertebrate evolution, with implications for the invasion of freshwater habitats, the evolution of air breathing and the transition of vertebrates from water to land.
White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) completely protect intracellular tissue pH (pH) despite large reductions in extracellular (blood) pH (pH), termed preferential pH regulation, in response to elevated environmental PCO (hypercarbia) and in general appear to be relatively resilient to stressors. Preferential pH regulation is thought to be associated with hypercarbia tolerance in general, but has also recently been observed to protect pH against metabolic acidoses induced by exhaustive exercise and anoxia in a tropical air breathing catfish. We hypothesized that preferential pH regulation may also be a general strategy of acid-base regulation in sturgeon. To address this hypothesis, severe acidoses were imposed to reduce pH, and the presence or absence of preferential pH regulation was assessed in red blood cells (RBC), heart, brain, liver and white muscle. A respiratory acidosis was imposed using hyperoxia, while metabolic acidoses were induced by exhaustive exercise, anoxia or air exposure. Reductions in pH occurred following hyperoxia (0.15 units), exhaustive exercise (0.30 units), anoxia (0.10 units) and air exposure (0.35 units); all acidoses reduced RBC pH. Following hyperoxia, heart, brain and liver pH were preferentially regulated against the reduction in pH, similar to hypercarbia exposure. Following all metabolic acidoses heart pH was protected and brain pH remained unchanged following exhaustive exercise and air exposure, however, brain pH was reduced following anoxia. Liver and white muscle pH were reduced following all metabolic acidoses. These results suggest preferential pH regulation may be a general strategy during respiratory acidoses but during metabolic acidoses, the response differs between source of acidoses and tissues.
Preferential intracellular pH (pHi) regulation, where pHi is tightly regulated in the face of a blood acidosis, has been observed in a few species of fish, but only during elevated blood PCO2. To determine whether preferential pHi regulation may represent a general pattern for acid-base regulation during other pH disturbances we challenged the armoured catfish, Pterygoplichthys pardalis, with anoxia and exhaustive exercise, to induce a metabolic acidosis, and bicarbonate injections to induce a metabolic alkalosis. Fish were terminally sampled 2-3 h following the respective treatments and extracellular blood pH, pHi of red blood cells (RBC), brain, heart, liver and white muscle, and plasma lactate and total CO2 were measured. All treatments resulted in significant changes in extracellular pH and RBC pHi that likely cover a large portion of the pH tolerance limits of this species (pH 7.15-7.86). In all tissues other than RBC, pHi remained tightly regulated and did not differ significantly from control values, with the exception of a decrease in white muscle pHi after anoxia and an increase in liver pHi following a metabolic alkalosis. Thus preferential pHi regulation appears to be a general pattern for acid-base homeostasis in the armoured catfish and may be a common response in Amazonian fishes.
SummaryThe Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus Mitchill, 1815) is an anadromous sturgeon species, yet little is known with regard to its osmoregulatory ability and habitat use at early life stages. In order to examine whether salinity poses a physiological challenge to juvenile Atlantic sturgeon near the sizes where they may begin to move into saline habitats, growth and osmoregulatory ability were tested. Juvenile Atlantic sturgeon (mean initial weight: 440 g) were acclimated to one of three salinity conditions (0, 10, or 33 ppt) representing the range of salinities they would be expected to encounter. Growth was measured over a 6-month period, and osmoregulatory ability (i.e. blood plasma osmolality and ionic concentrations) was measured after 4 months. Mean weight and length increased in all treatments, but fish in 0 and 10 ppt grew more than fish in 33 ppt. Blood plasma osmolality was regulated at similar levels regardless of salinity. Therefore, juvenile Atlantic sturgeon have the physiological capability to move between salinity habitats, but grow faster in low salinities.
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