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Neurosci Lett. 1997 Oct 10;235(1-2):89-92.

Brain Na+/K+-ATPase activity in two anoxia tolerant vertebrates: crucian carp and freshwater turtle.

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Department of Biology, University of Oslo, Norway.


The crucian carp (Carassius carassius) and freshwater turtles (Trachemys scripta) are among the very few vertebrates that can survive extended periods of anoxia. The major problem for an anoxic brain is energy deficiency. In the brain, the Na+/K+-ATPase is the single most ATP consuming enzyme, being responsible for maintaining ion gradients. We here show that the Na+/K+-ATPase activity in the turtle brain is reduced by 31% in telencephalon and by 34% in cerebellum after 24 h of anoxia. Both changes were reversed upon reoxygenation. By contrast, the Na+/K+-ATPase activities were maintained in the anoxic crucian carp brain. These results support the notion that crucian carp and turtles use divergent strategies for anoxic survival. The fall in Na+/K+-ATPase activities displayed by the turtle is likely to be related to the strong depression of brain electric and metabolic activity utilized as an anoxic survival strategy by this species.

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