Diminished social status affects ionoregulation at the gills and kidney in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Competition for social status can result in physiological differences between individuals, including differences in ionoregulatory ability. Subordinate rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) had two-fold higher uptake rates of sodium across the gill and two-fold higher whole-body sodium efflux rates than the dominant fish with which they were paired. Sodium efflux was then divided into branchial and renal components, both of which were higher in subordinates. Branchial sodium efflux accounted for 95%–98% of sodium loss. Plasma sodium concentrations were more variable, although not significantly different, in subordinate fish, suggesting that the increased loss of sodium in these trout is compensated for by an increase in uptake rates. Urine flow rates and plasma cortisol concentrations were higher in subordinate fish, but there was no difference in glomerular filtration rate between dominants and subordinates. Renal sodium reabsorption was significantly reduced in subordinates. In summary, the ionoregulation of subordinate individuals was altered, most likely occurring as a result of stress-induced changes in gill permeability, resulting in a higher throughput of water and increased branchial sodium efflux. These changes in ionoregulatory ability have many physiological implications, including the increased susceptibility of subordinates to ionoregulatory challenges and an increased metabolic cost of ionoregulation.


  • Sloman, Katherine A
  • Scott, Graham
  • McDonald, D Gordon
  • Wood, Chris M

publication date

  • April 1, 2004