Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 231–241

Mitochondrial enzyme and Na+, K+-ATPase activity, and ion regulation during parr-smolt transformation of Atlantic salmon (Salmon salar)

  • Stephen D. McCormick
  • Richard L. Saunders
  • Arthur D. MacIntyre


Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) exposed to either simulated natural photoperiod (SNP) or continuous light (L24) were used to examine developmental changes in the presence and absence, respectively, of the parrsmolt transformation. Plasma osmolarity and ion concentrations were unaffected by photoperiod treatment. Gill Na+, K+-ATPase specific activity increased 150% between February and June in SNP fish and was low and unchanged in L24 fish. Kidney Na+, K+-ATPase specific activity varied within similar, narrow limits in both groups. Citrate synthase of liver, gill and kidney, expressed as specific activity or activity/g total body weight (relative activity), increased 25–60% between March and June in SNP fish. With the exception of kidney relative activity, citrate synthase activity declined to initial (March) levels by August. Liver, gill and kidney cytochrome c oxidase activity of the SNP group underwent similar though less marked changes. Liver, gill and kidney citrate synthase and cytochrome c oxidase activities of the L24 group remained relatively constant between March and August, and where significant differences occurred, they were lower than those of the SNP group. These results indicate that respiratory capacities of the liver, gill and kidney increase in smolls concurrent with preparatory osmoregulatory changes, and subsequently decline. The findings are consistent with a hypothesized transient increase in catabolic activity during the parr-smolt transformation that may be due to the metabolic demands of differentiation.


osmoregulation metabolism Na+ K+-ATPase salmon respiratory capacity parr-smolt transformation mitochondrial enzymes 


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Copyright information

© Kugler Publication 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen D. McCormick
    • 1
  • Richard L. Saunders
    • 1
  • Arthur D. MacIntyre
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and OceansSt. Andrews Biological StationSt. AndrewsCanada
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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