Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 339–347 | Cite as

The nature of hematological response in fish

Studies on rainbow troutOncorhynchus mykiss exposed to simulated winter, spring and summer conditions
  • A. H. Houston
  • N. Dobric
  • R. Kahurananga


Hematological status was examined in rainbow trout,Oncorhynchus mykiss, held for 3–4 weeks under temperature, photoperiod and PO2 conditions approximating those of their winter, spring and summer habitats. The most striking change observed was in red cell population composition. In ‘winter’ fish mature cells were predominant; juvenile and developing erythrocytes characterized ‘spring’ and ‘summer’ animals. Hemoglobin, hematocrit and both mean erythrocytic volume and hemoglobin were modestly lower in ‘spring’ and ‘summer’ than in ‘winter’ fish. Red cell numbers were not significantly affected. These observations suggest that avoidance of viscosity-based increases in circulatory work cost is more advantageous than elevation of blood O2-carrying capacity. Although hemoglobin isomorph profiles were significantly altered, there is little evidence that such changes are of critical adaptive importance. Given presumed age-based reduction in gas transport effectiveness, the replacement of mature and senescent cells by more metabolically-competent juvenile cells appears to be the pivotal event in hematological response. Leucocyte counts were significantly elevated in ‘spring’ and ‘summer’ as compared to ‘winter’ fish. Lymphocyte/heterophil ratios declined from 8.27 in ‘winter’ fish to 3.13 in ‘summer’ trout. Thrombocyte, monocyte, eosinophil and basophil abundances were little changed.


hematology erythron organization leucon organization hemoglobin isomorphs seasonal acclimation rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Bushnell, P.G., Jones, D.R. and Farrell, A.P. 1992. The arterial system.In Fish Physiology. pp. 89–139. Edited by W.S. Hoar, D.J. Randall and A.P. Farrell. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Brunner, A., DeRizzo, E., Spaducci Morena, D.D., Cianciarullo, A.M., Jared, C. and Morena, P. 1992. Hemosomogenesis and hemoglobin synthesis in vertebrates. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 102A: 645–664.Google Scholar
  3. Brunori, M. 1975. Molecular adaptation to physiological requirements; the hemoglobin system of trout. Curr. Topics Cell. Reg. 9: 1–39.Google Scholar
  4. DeWilde, M.A. and Houston, A.H. 1967. Hematological aspects of the thermoacclimatory process in the rainbow trout,Salmo gairdneri. J. Fish. Res. Bd. Can. 24: 2267–2281.Google Scholar
  5. Dunn, S.E., Murad, A. and Houston, A.H. 1989. Leucocytes and leucopoietic capacity in thermally acclimated goldfish,Carassius auratus L. J. Fish Biol. 34: 901–911.Google Scholar
  6. Ellis, A.E. 1977. The leucocytes of fish: a review. J. Fish Biol. 11: 453–491.Google Scholar
  7. Fyhn, U.E.H., Fyhn, H.J., Davis, B.D., Power, D.A., Fink, W.L. and Garlick, R.L. 1979. Hemoglobin heterogeneity in Amazonian fishes. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 62A: 39–66.Google Scholar
  8. Hashimoto, K., Yamaguchi, Y. and Matsuura, F. 1960. Comparative studies on two hemoglobins of salmon. IV. Oxygen dissociation curve. Bull. Jap. Soc. Sci. Fish. 26: 827–834.Google Scholar
  9. Houston, A.H. 1980. Components of the hematological response of fishes to environmental temperature change.In Environmental Biology of Fishes. pp. 241–298. NATO ASI Ser. A, Life Sciences, V. 35. Edited by M.A. Ali, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Houston, A.H. 1990. Blood and circulation.In Methods for Fish Biology. pp. 273–334. Edited by C.B. Schreck and P.B. Moyle. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda.Google Scholar
  11. Houston, A.H. and Gingras-Bédard, J.H. 1994. Variable versus constant temperature acclimation regimes: effects on hemoglobin isomorph profile in goldfish,Carassius auratus. Fish Physiol. Biochem. 13: 445–450.Google Scholar
  12. Houston, A.H. and Murad, A. 1992. Erythrodynamics in goldfish,Carassius auratus L.: temperature effects. Physiol. Zool. 65: 55–76.Google Scholar
  13. Houston, A.H. and Murad, A. 1995. Erythrodynamics in fish: recovery of the goldfish,Carassius auratus from acute anemia. Can. J. Zool. 73: 411–418.Google Scholar
  14. Houston, A.H. and Rupert, R. 1976. Immediate response of the hemoglobin system of the goldfish,Carassius auratus, to temperature change. Can. J. Zool. 54: 1737–1741.Google Scholar
  15. Houston, A.H. and Schrapp, M.P. 1994. Thermoacclimatory hematological response: have we been using appropriate conditions and assessment methods? Can. J. Zool. 72: 1238–1242.Google Scholar
  16. Hutchinson, G.E. 1957. Treatise on Limnology. I. Geography, Physics and Chemistry. Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Keen, J.E., Calarco Steel, A.M. and Houston, A.H. 1989. The circulating erythrocytes of the rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 94A: 699–711.Google Scholar
  18. Korcock, D.E., Houston, A.H. and Gray, J.G. 1988. Effects of sampling conditions on selected blood variables of rainbow trout,Salmo gairdneri. J. Fish Biol. 33: 319–330.Google Scholar
  19. Lane, H.C. 1984. Nucleoside triphosphate changes during the peripheral lifespan of erythrocytes of rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri). J. Exp. Zool. 231: 57–62.Google Scholar
  20. Lane, H.C. and Tharp, T.P. 1980. Changes in the population of polyribosome containing red cells in the peripheral blood of rainbow trout,Salmo gairdneri Richardson, following starvation and bleeding. J. Fish Biol. 17: 75–81.Google Scholar
  21. Lane, H.C., Weaver, J.W., Benson, J.A. and Nichols, H.A. 1982. Some age related changes of adult rainbow trout,Salmo gairdneri Rich., peripheral erythrocytes separated by velocity sedimentation at unit gravity. J. Fish Biol. 21: 1–13.Google Scholar
  22. MacArthur, J.I. and Fletcher, T.C. 1985. Phagocytosis in fish.In Fish Immunology. pp. 29–46. Edited by M.J. Manning and M.F. Tatner. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  23. Milnor, W.R. 1990. Cardiovascular Physiology. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Murad, A., Everill, S.P. and Houston, A.H. 1993. Division of goldfish erythrocytes in circulation. Can. J. Zool. 86: 884–888.Google Scholar
  25. Murad, A. and Houston, A.H. 1992. Maturation of the goldfish erythrocyte. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 102A: 107–110.Google Scholar
  26. Murad, A., Houston, A.H. and Samson, L. 1990. Hematological response to reduced oxygen-carrying capacity, increased temperature and hypoxia in goldfish,Carassius auratus. J. Fish Biol. 36: 289–305.Google Scholar
  27. Pearson, M. and Stevens, E.D. 1991. Size and hematological impact of the splenic erythrocyte reservoir in rainbow trout,Oncorhynchus mykiss. Fish. Physiol. Biochem. 9: 39–50.Google Scholar
  28. Sekhon, S.S. and Beams, W.H. 1969. Fine structure of the developing trout erythrocyte and thrombocyte with special reference to the marginal band and cytoplasmic organelles. Am. J. Anat. 125: 353–374.Google Scholar
  29. Tun, N. and Houston, A.H. 1986. Temperature, oxygen, photoperiod and the hemoglobin system of the rainbow trout,Salmo gairdneri. Can J. Zool. 64: 1883–1888.Google Scholar
  30. Weber, R.E. 1990. Functional significance and structural basis of multiple hemoglobins with special reference to ectothermic vertebrates.In Animal Nutrition and Transport Processes. 2. Transport, Respiration and Excretion: Comparative and Environmental Aspects. pp. 58–75. Edited by J.-P. Truchot and B. Lahlou. Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  31. Weber, R.E. and Jensen, F.B. 1988. Functional adaptations in hemoglobins from ectothermic vertebrates. Ann. Rev. Physiol. 50: 161–179.Google Scholar
  32. Weber, R.E., Wood, S.C. and Lomholt, J.P. Lomholt. 1976. Temperature acclimation and oxygen-binding properties and multiple haemoglobins of rainbow trout. J. Exp. Biol. 65: 333–345.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kugler Publication bv Amsterdam 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. H. Houston
    • 1
  • N. Dobric
    • 1
  • R. Kahurananga
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

Personalised recommendations