Morphological responses of the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) gill to hyperoxia, base (NaHCO3) and acid (HCl) infusions
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Marked morphological responses occur in the gills of freshwater rainbow trout in response to experimental acid-base disturbance and these responses play an important role in acid-base correction. Compensated respiratory acidosis induced by 70h exposure to environmental hyperoxia (elevated water PO2) caused a 33% decrease in branchial chloride cell fractional surface area (CCFA). Metabolic alkalosis induced by normoxic recovery (6h) from hyperoxia (72h) caused a 50% increase in CCFA, whereas metabolic alkalosis induced by infusion (19h) of NaHCO3 caused a 70% rise. However, the largest increase (135%) in CCFA was seen in response to infusion (19h) of HCl. NaCl infusion had no effect. A particular goal was to assess the relative importance of changes in CCFA vs. changes in internal substrate (HCO3 (-)) availability in regulating the activity of the branchial Cl(-)/HCO3 (-) exchange system. For each of the experimental treatments, the accompanying blood acid-base status and branchial transport kinetics (Km, Jmax) for Cl(-) uptake had been determined in earlier studies. In the present study, a positive linear relationship was established between CCFA and J(Cl-) max in individual control fish in the absence of an acid-base disturbance. By reference to this relationship, observed changes in J(Cl-) max during metabolic acid-base disturbances were clearly due to changes in both CCFA and internal substrate levels (plasma [HCO3 (-)]) with the two factors having approximately equal influence.
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