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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2013 Apr;164(4):554-64. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2012.12.020. Epub 2013 Jan 2.

Cardiac K(ATP) channel alterations associated with acclimation to hypoxia in goldfish (Carassius auratus L.).

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA.


Goldfish (Carassius auratus L.) are highly tolerant of environmental hypoxia, and with appropriate acclimation may survive and remain active for several days in the complete absence of oxygen. Previous work suggests that the hypoxia-induced activation of cardiac ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels serves to increase tolerance of low oxygen in many species. For goldfish, we have previously characterized a nitric oxide (NO)- and cGMP-dependent pathway by which this channel activation occurs in acute hypoxia. The purpose of the present study was to resolve alterations in KATP channel activity and relevant gene expression in response to acclimation under moderately hypoxic conditions (2.6mg O2/L for seven days at 22°C). Intracellular action potential duration in excised ventricles from hypoxia-acclimated animals was significantly (p<0.05) reduced at both 50% and 90% of full repolarization relative to those from normoxia-acclimated fish. In cell-attached ventricular membrane patches from hypoxia-acclimated goldfish, sarcolemmal KATP channel open probability (NPo) was significantly enhanced vs. control. Of the two genes coding for the pore-forming subunits of cardiac KATP channels (Kir6.1 and Kir6.2), mRNA transcription of kcnj8 (revealed by quantitative real-time PCR) was unchanged while kcnj11 was downregulated in response to chronic low oxygen. The mRNA levels for hif1a (hypoxia inducible factor 1α) in the hearts of hypoxia-acclimated fish were significantly enhanced, as was nitric oxide synthase (nos2) and the sulfonylurea receptor regulatory subunit (sur2, abcc9). These data suggest that prior whole-animal acclimation to chronic hypoxia enhances cardioprotective sarcolemmal KATP currents by altering transcription of regulatory proteins.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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