Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 83–94 | Cite as

The effects of experimental anaemia on CO2 excretionin vitro in rainbow trout,Oncorhynchus mykiss

  • Kathleen M. Gilmour
  • Steve F. Perry


The effects of severe experimental anaemia on red blood cell HCO3 dehydrationin vitro were examined in rainbow trout,Oncorhynchus mykiss. After 5 days of anaemia (haematocrit=4.9±1.1%) induced by intraperitoneal injection of phenylhydrazine hydrochloride, fish displayed elevated arterial CO2 tensions (anaemic PaCO2=3.19±0.42 torrvs. control PaCO2=1.35±0.17 torr) and a significant acidosis (anaemic pHa=7.73±0.04vs. control pHa=7.99±0.04). However, after 15–20 days of anaemia (hct=6.6±0.8%) induced by blood withdrawal, the arterial CO2 tension was significantly lower than the control value, suggesting that physiological adjustments occurred within this time period to compensate for the lowered haematocrit. Compensation probably did not involve alterations in ventilation, which was unaffected by 5 days of anaemia (anaemic\(\dot V\);w=786±187 ml min−1 kg−1vs. control\(\dot V\);w=945±175 min−1 kg−1), based on indirect Fick principle measurements.

Potential adaptations to longer term anaemia at the level of the red blood cells were investigated using a radioisotopic HCO3 dehydration assay. Owing to the difference in haematocrits, the HCO3 dehydration rate for blood from anaemic fish was significantly lower than that for control fish following equilibration at the same CO2 tension. This difference was eliminated when HCO3 dehydration rates were measured on blood samples adjusted to the same haematocrit, a result which implies that the intrinsic rate of CO2 excretion at the level of the red blood cell was not ‘up-regulated’ during anaemia. The difference was also eliminated by equilibrating the blood samples with CO2 tensions appropriate for the group from which the sample was obtained,i.e., PCO2=1.4 torr for control samples and PCO2=3.2 torr for anaemic samples; each at the appropriate haematocrit. It is concluded that the elevated PaCO2 helps to reset CO2 excretion to the control level, but that some additional physiological adjustment occurs to lower the PaCO2 after 15–20 days of anaemia.


Oncorhynchus mykiss anaemia phenylhydrazine red blood cell CO2 excretion HCO3 dehydration Cl/HCO3 exchange ventilation 


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Copyright information

© Kugler Publication bv 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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