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J Exp Biol. 2019 Mar 1;222(Pt 5). pii: jeb199190. doi: 10.1242/jeb.199190.

In vivo effects of temperature on the heart and pyloric rhythms in the crab Cancer borealis.

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Biology Department and Volen Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.
Biology Department and Volen Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA


The heart and pyloric rhythms of crustaceans have been studied separately and extensively over many years. Local and hormonal neuromodulation and sensory inputs into these central pattern generator circuits play a significant role in an animal's response to perturbations, but are usually lost or removed during in vitro studies. To examine simultaneously the in vivo motor output of the crustacean heart and pyloric rhythms, we used photoplethysmography. In the population measured (n=49), the heart rhythm frequency ranged from 0.3 to 2.3 Hz. The pyloric rhythm varied from 0.2 to 1.6 Hz. We observed a weak correlation between the frequencies of the heart and pyloric rhythms. During multiple hour-long recordings, many animals held at a controlled temperature showed strong inhibitory bouts in which the heart decreased in frequency or become quiescent and the pyloric rhythm decreased in frequency. We measured the simultaneous responses of the rhythms to temperature ramps by heating or cooling the saline bath while recording both the heart and pyloric muscle movements. Q 10, critical temperature (temperature at which muscle function is compromised) and changes in frequency were calculated for each of the rhythms tested. The heart rhythm was more robust to high temperature than the pyloric rhythm.


Cardiac ganglion; Central pattern generator; Crustaceans; Photoplethysmography; Q10; Stomatogastric nervous system

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