Osmoregulatory bicarbonate secretion exploits H(+)-sensitive haemoglobins to autoregulate intestinal O2 delivery in euryhaline teleosts
Cooper, CA; Regan, MD; Brauner, CJ; et al.De Bastos, ES; Wilson, RW
Date: 27 August 2014
Journal of Comparative Physiology B
Marine teleost fish secrete bicarbonate (HCO3 (-)) into the intestine to aid osmoregulation and limit Ca(2+) uptake by carbonate precipitation. Intestinal HCO3 (-) secretion is associated with an equimolar transport of protons (H(+)) into the blood, both being proportional to environmental salinity. We hypothesized that the H(+)-sensitive ...
Marine teleost fish secrete bicarbonate (HCO3 (-)) into the intestine to aid osmoregulation and limit Ca(2+) uptake by carbonate precipitation. Intestinal HCO3 (-) secretion is associated with an equimolar transport of protons (H(+)) into the blood, both being proportional to environmental salinity. We hypothesized that the H(+)-sensitive haemoglobin (Hb) system of seawater teleosts could be exploited via the Bohr and/or Root effects (reduced Hb-O2 affinity and/or capacity with decreasing pH) to improve O2 delivery to intestinal cells during high metabolic demand associated with osmoregulation. To test this, we characterized H(+) equilibria and gas exchange properties of European flounder (Platichthys flesus) haemoglobin and constructed a model incorporating these values, intestinal blood flow rates and arterial-venous acidification at three different environmental salinities (33, 60 and 90). The model suggested red blood cell pH (pHi) during passage through intestinal capillaries could be reduced by 0.14-0.33 units (depending on external salinity) which is sufficient to activate the Bohr effect (Bohr coefficient of -0.63), and perhaps even the Root effect, and enhance tissue O2 delivery by up to 42 % without changing blood flow. In vivo measurements of intestinal venous blood pH were not possible in flounder but were in seawater-acclimated rainbow trout which confirmed a blood acidification of no less than 0.2 units (equivalent to -0.12 for pHi). When using trout-specific values for the model variables, predicted values were consistent with measured in vivo values, further supporting the model. Thus this system is an elegant example of autoregulation: as the need for costly osmoregulatory processes (including HCO3 (-) secretion) increases at higher environmental salinity, so does the enhancement of O2 delivery to the intestine via a localized acidosis and the Bohr (and possibly Root) effect.
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
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