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Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2012 Mar;161(3):268-74. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2011.12.001. Epub 2011 Dec 10.

Cutaneous vasoregulation during short- and long-term aerial acclimation in the amphibious mangrove rivulus, Kryptolebias marmoratus.

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Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.


The mangrove rivulus (Kryptolebias marmoratus) is an amphibious fish and evidence suggests that the cutaneous surface is the primary site of gas exchange during emersion. The aim of this study was to determine whether cutaneous blood vessels were regulated in the caudal fin during the initial transition from water to aerial exposure, and after 10 days of aerial acclimation. Acute changes (first 3 min following emersion) in the cutaneous vessels diameter were measured in real-time on live fish using light microscopy. The data show that under control conditions, only arterioles in the caudal fin were vasoactive. During the first 20s of aerial acclimation the arterioles significantly constricted (-2.1 ± 0.4 μm), which was followed immediately by a relaxation (from 40 to 180 s). This vasoconstriction was eliminated with the addition of phentolamine (50 μmoll(-1)), which indicates that the vasoconstriction was mediated by α-adrenoreceptors. Longer-term changes in the cutaneous surface vasculature were determined using fluorescent immunohistochemistry and antibodies for the endothelial marker, CD31. Fish aerially acclimated for 10 days exhibited significantly higher levels of endothelial fluorescence in the caudal fin when compared to control fish in water, indicating endothelial cell production (i.e. angiogenesis). These data combined show that for every emersion episode, there is an initial α-adrenergic mediated vasoconstriction, which is most likely, a stress response. This is then followed by a long-term acclimation involving an upregulation in endothelial cell production, which would subsequently enhance blood perfusion to the cutaneous surface and potentially increase the capacity for gas exchange with the external environment.

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