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Fish Physiol Biochem. 1990 Jan;8(1):69-77. doi: 10.1007/BF00004433.

Oxygen uptake in the Antarctic teleost Pagothenia borchgrevinki. Limitations imposed by X-cell gill disease.

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Department of Zoology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Fish in a population of Pagothenia borchgrevinki in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, are affected by a gill disease (X-cell disease) which causes tissue hyperplasia that results in a decreased gill surface area and an increased water/blood diffusion distance. P. borchgrevinki acquires 95% of its oxygen via the gills, but damage to the gills by X-cell disease did not affect this function. There was no compensatory shift to cutaneous respiration. X-cell disease reduced the ability for oxygen uptake at low ambient PO 2 and the decreased uptake was related to the extent of the disease. O 2 max was greatly reduced in X-cell affected fish and substantially reduced their aerobic potential. This effect may impair the ability of diseased fish to catch prey and avoid predators.

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