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Cardiac reflexes in a warming world: thermal plasticity of barostatic control and autonomic tones in a temperate fish


Sandblom, E and Ekstrom, A and Brijs, J and Sundstrom, LF and Jutfelt, F and Clark, TD and Adill, A and Aho, T and Grans, A, Cardiac reflexes in a warming world: thermal plasticity of barostatic control and autonomic tones in a temperate fish, Journal of Experimental Biology, 219 pp. 2880-2887. ISSN 0022-0949 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 the authors

DOI: doi:10.1242/jeb.140319


Thermal plasticity of cardiorespiratory function allows ectotherms like fish to cope with seasonal temperature changes and is critical for resilience to climate change. Yet, the chronic thermal effects on cardiovascular homeostatic reflexes in fish are little understood although this may have important implications for physiological performance and overall resilience to climate warming. We compared cardiac autonomic control and baroreflex regulation of heart rate in perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) from a reference area in the Baltic Sea at 18–19°C with conspecifics from the Biotest enclosure, a chronically heated ecosystem receiving warmed effluent water (24–25°C) from a nuclear power plant. Resting heart rate of Biotest fish displayed clear thermal compensation and was 58.3 ± 2.3 beats min−1 compared with 52.4 ± 2.6 beats min−1 in reference fish at their respective environmental temperatures (Q10 = 1.2). The thermally compensated heart rate of Biotest fish was a combined effect of elevated inhibitory cholinergic tone (105% in Biotest fish versus 70% in reference fish) and reduced intrinsic cardiac pacemaker rate. A barostatic response was evident in both groups, as pharmacologically induced increases and decreases in blood pressure resulted in atropine-sensitive bradycardia and tachycardia, respectively. Yet, the tachycardia in Biotest fish was significantly greater, presumably due to the larger scope for vagal release. Acclimation of Biotest fish to 18°C for 3 weeks abolished differences in intrinsic heart rate and autonomic tone, suggesting considerable short-term thermal plasticity of cardiovascular control in this species. The heightened hypotensive tachycardia in Biotest perch may represent an important mechanism of ectothermic vertebrates that safeguards tissue perfusion pressure when tissue oxygen demand is elevated by environmental warming.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:autonomic control, baroreflex, blood pressure, bradycardia, heart rate, tachycardia, temperature acclimation
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal physiological ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Clark, TD (Dr Timothy Clark)
ID Code:110533
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2016-08-01
Last Modified:2017-10-31
Downloads:110 View Download Statistics

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