Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 183, Issue 6, pp 801–809 | Cite as

Cardiac performance correlates of relative heart ventricle mass in amphibians

  • Gregory J. Kluthe
  • Stanley S. HillmanEmail author
Original Paper


This study used an in situ heart preparation to analyze the power output and stroke work of spontaneously beating hearts of four anurans (Rhinella marina, Lithobates catesbeianus, Xenopus laevis, Pyxicephalus edulis) and three urodeles (Necturus maculosus, Ambystoma tigrinum, Amphiuma tridactylum) that span a representative range of relative ventricle mass (RVM) found in amphibians. Previous research has documented that RVM correlates with dehydration tolerance and maximal aerobic capacity in amphibians. The power output (mW g−1 ventricle mass) and stroke work (mJ g−1 ventricle muscle mass) were independent of RVM and were indistinguishable from previously published results for fish and reptiles. RVM was significantly correlated with maximum power output (P max, mW kg−1 body mass), stroke volume, cardiac output, afterload pressure (P O) at P max, and preload pressure (P I) at P max. P I at P max and P O at P max also correlated very closely with each other. The increases in both P I and P O at maximal power outputs in large hearts suggest that concomitant increases in blood volume and/or increased modulation of vascular compliance either anatomically or via sympathetic tone on the venous vasculature would be necessary to achieve P max in vivo. Hypotheses for variation in RVM and its concomitant increased P max in amphibians are developed.


Ventricle mass Cardiac power output Amphibians 



Financial assistance was provided by National Science Foundation IOS-0843082 (SH) and the Forbes-Lea Fund (GK). The work represents parts of an MS Thesis submitted to PSU. The guidance and input received from committee members Drs. Gary Brodowicz, and Jason Podrabsky is greatly appreciated. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful input.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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