Venous control in a primitive fish Eptatretus cirrhatus
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Only a small amount of the available literature is concerned with venous control in lower vertebrates, such as fish. It has even been suggested that veins in fish are not important factors in active regulation of venous return. Preliminary work carried out for this thesis strongly refuted this assumption, highlighting gaps in the existing literature. As a result of the lack of information pertaining to the physiology of the central venous compartment of the circulation, my objective has been to investigate various aspects of this in the hagfish Eptatretus cirrhatus. Hagfishes, with the lowest arterial blood pressures and highest blood volumes amongst the chordates, are the earliest surviving group to separate off from the chordate lineage. They provide a unique opportunity to investigate likely physiological mechanisms in ancestral chordates. The data presented in this thesis suggest thtat 1) E. cirhatus exhibit some cardiovascular compensation during volume manipulation, however this only occurs with volume loading and not during volume depletion, 2) Veins from E. cirrhatus can respond vasoactively to adrenergic stimulation in vitro and 3) Plasma catecholamines in E. cirrhatus also respond to volume manipulation and provide a potential in vivo mechanism for the control of changes in cardiovascular parameters that were observed during volume loading.