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Respir Physiol. 2000 Jan;119(1):69-82.

CO2 transport and excretion in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) during graded sustained exercise.

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Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


A quantitative analysis of CO2 transport and excretion was conducted in seawater acclimated rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) swimming at different sustained swimming velocities. CO2 excretion increased linearly with cardiac output during exercise but arterial P(CO2) (Pa(CO2)) and total CO2 levels also increased indicating a diffusion limitation to CO2 excretion. The elevated Pa(CO2) was not accompanied by a decrease in pH, indicating that the acid-base compensation was rapid. Mixed-venous P(CO2) increased to a greater extent than Pa(CO2) resulting in a large increase in the venous arterial difference in P(CO2) (Pv(CO2) - Pa(CO2)). The Pv(CO2) - Pa(CO2) difference was used to calculate the proportion of total CO2 excreted comprised of dissolved CO2 which accounted for less than 1% of total CO2 excreted in fish swimming at 11 cm sec(-1) but increased to about 9% at the greatest swimming velocity indicating that the pattern of CO2 excretion changes during exercise. There was no effect of exercise on the proportion of CO2 excreted which was dependent upon HCO3-/Cl- exchange (54%) or that which was dependent upon the dehydration of HCO3- that resided within the red cell prior to gill blood entry (42%). The large proportion of total CO2 excreted that was dependent upon HCO3-/Cl- exchange is significant because this is thought to be the rate limiting step in CO2 excretion.

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