Acid base regulation in the air-breathing swamp eel (Monopterus albus) at different temperatures

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DOI

    Phan Vinh Thinh, Can Tho Univ, Can Tho University, Coll Aquaculture & Fisheries, Nguyen Thanh Phuong, Can Tho Univ, Can Tho University, Coll Aquaculture & Fisheries, Colin J. Brauner, Univ British Columbia, University of British Columbia, Dept Zool, Do Thi Thanh Huong, Can Tho Univ, Can Tho University, Coll Aquaculture & Fisheries, Andrew T. Wood, CSIRO, Garfield T. Kwan, Univ Calif San Diego, University of California San Diego, University of California System, Ctr Marine Biotechnol & Biomed, Scripps Inst Oceanog, Div Marine Biol Res, Justin L. Conner, Univ Northern Texas,
  • Mark Bayley
  • Tobias Wang

Vertebrates reduce arterial blood pH (pHa) when body temperature increases. In water breathers, this response occurs primarily by reducing plasma HCO3- levels with small changes in the partial pressure of CO2 (P-CO2). In contrast, air breathers mediate the decrease in pHa by increasing arterial P-CO2 (Pa-CO2) at constant plasma HCO3- by reducing lung ventilation relative to metabolic CO2 production. Much less is known about bimodal breathers, which utilize both water and air. Here, we characterized the influence of temperature on arterial acid-base balance and intracellular pH (pH(i)) in the bimodal-breathing swamp eel, Monopterus albus. This teleost uses the buccopharyngeal cavity for gas exchange and has very reduced gills. When exposed to ecologically relevant temperatures (20, 25, 30 and 35 degrees C) for 24 and 48 h, pHa decreased by -0.025 pH units (U) degrees C-1 in association with an increase in Pa-CO2 but without changes in plasma [HCO3-]. pH(i) was also reduced with increased temperature. The slope of pH, of liver and muscle was -0.014 and -0.019 U degrees C-1, while the heart muscle showed a smaller reduction (-0.008 U degrees C-1). When exposed to hypercapnia (7 or 14 mmHg) at either 25 or 35 degrees C, M. albus elevated plasma [HCO3-] and therefore seemed to defend the new pHa set-point, demonstrating an adjusted control of acid-base balance with temperature. Overall, the effects of temperature on acid-base balance in M. albus resemble those in air-breathing amniotes, and we discuss the possibility that this pattern of acid-base balance results from a progressive transition in CO2 excretion from water to air as temperature rises.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172551
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume221
Issue number10
Number of pages7
ISSN0022-0949
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

    Research areas

  • P-CO2, Bimodal breathing, Blood gases, Intracellular pH, AQUATIC GAS-EXCHANGE, INTRACELLULAR PH, BODY-TEMPERATURE, BLOOD-GASES, ECTOTHERMIC VERTEBRATES, BUFO-PARACNEMIS, CARBON-DIOXIDE, BALANCE, VENTILATION, TOLERANCE

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