Effects of prolonged anoxia on electrical activity of the heart in Crucian carp (Carassius carassius)
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CitationTikkanen Elisa. Haverinen Jaakko. Egginton Stuart. Hassinen Minna. Vornanen Matti. (2017). Effects of prolonged anoxia on electrical activity of the heart in Crucian carp (Carassius carassius). JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, 220, 445-454. 10.1242/jeb.145177.
The effects of sustained anoxia on cardiac electrical excitability were examined in the anoxia-tolerant crucian carp (Carassius carassius). The electrocardiogram (ECG) and expression of excitation–contraction coupling genes were studied in fish acclimatised to normoxia in summer (+18°C) or winter (+2°C), and in winter fish after 1, 3 and 6 weeks of anoxia. Anoxia induced a sustained bradycardia from a heart rate of 10.3±0.77 beats min−1 to 4.1±0.29 beats min−1 (P<0.05) after 5 weeks, and heart rate slowly recovered to control levels when oxygen was restored. Heart rate variability greatly increased under anoxia, and completely recovered under re-oxygenation. The RT interval increased from 2.8±0.34 s in normoxia to 5.8±0.44 s under anoxia (P<0.05), which reflects a doubling of the ventricular action potential (AP) duration. Acclimatisation to winter induced extensive changes in gene expression relative to summer-acclimatised fish, including depression in those genes coding for the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium pump (Serca2a_q2) and ATP-sensitive K+ channels (Kir6.2) (P<0.05). Genes of delayed rectifier K+ (kcnh6) and Ca2+ channels (cacna1c) were up-regulated in winter fish (P<0.05). In contrast, the additional challenge of anoxia caused only minor changes in gene expression, e.g. depressed expression of Kir2.2b K+ channel gene (kcnj12b), whereas expression of Ca2+ (cacna1a, cacna1c and cacna1g) and Na+ channel genes (scn4a and scn5a) was not affected. These data suggest that low temperature pre-conditions the crucian carp heart for winter anoxia, whereas sustained anoxic bradycardia and prolongation of AP duration are directly induced by oxygen shortage without major changes in gene expression.