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Am J Physiol. 1996 Jul;271(1 Pt 2):R42-7.

High lipid content enhances the rate of oxygen diffusion through fish skeletal muscle.

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Department of Zoology, University of Maine, Orono 04469-5751, USA.


The diffusion coefficient for O2 (Do2) and the solubility constant for O2 (alpha O2) were measured at 15 degrees C in oxidative muscle from striped bass (Morone saxatilis) that had been acclimated to 5 degrees and 25 degrees C. This design allowed us to test the hypothesis that changes in composition of the tissue that are known to occur during thermal acclimation may affect O2 movement. Our measurements permitted calculation of the diffusion constant for O2 (Ko2) through the tissue, which is a primary determinant of capacity for O2 flux. Under isothermal conditions, alpha O2 was 3.59 +/- 0.20 x 10(-2) and 6.64 +/- 0.27 x 10(-2) ml in tissues from 25 degrees- and 5 degrees C-acclimated animals, respectively. Because O2 is more soluble in lipid than aqueous phase, higher alpha O2 in tissues from cold-acclimated animals can be accounted for by the 13-fold increase in lipid content that is known to occur in oxidative muscle of striped bass during acclimation from 25 degrees to 5 degrees C. When measured under similar isothermal conditions, Do2 showed no significant difference between animals acclimated to warm or cold temperature; Do2 through tissues from 25 degrees- and 5 degrees C-acclimated animals was 2.50 +/- 0.18 and 2.57 +/- 0.40 cm2/s, respectively. Because alpha O2 increases, the calculated KO2 (DO2. alpha O2) is greater in tissue from cold- than from warm-acclimated fish. At physiological temperature, elevated lipid content in oxidative muscle of cold-acclimated striped bass should result in enhanced intracellular movement of O2 and at least partially offset the expected decrease in DO2 at cold temperature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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