Extrinsic nerves are not involved in branchial 5-HT dynamics or pulsatile urea excretion in Gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta

Maria C. Cartolano, Molly H.B. Amador, Velislava Tzaneva, William K. Milsom, M. Danielle McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta) can switch from continuously excreting ammonia as their primary nitrogenous waste to excreting predominantly urea in distinct pulses. Previous studies have shown that the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) is involved in controlling this process, but it is unknown if 5-HT availability is under central nervous control or if the 5-HT signal originates from a peripheral source. Following up on a previous study, cranial nerves IX (glossopharyngeal) and X (vagus) were sectioned to further characterize their role in controlling pulsatile urea excretion and 5-HT release within the gill. In contrast to an earlier study, nerve sectioning did not result in a change in urea pulse frequency. Total urea excretion, average pulse size, total nitrogen excretion, and percent ureotely were reduced the first day post-surgery in nerve-sectioned fish but recovered by 72 h post-surgery. Nerve sectioning also had no effect on toadfish urea transporter (tUT), 5-HT transporter (SERT), or 5-HT2A receptor mRNA expression or 5-HT and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) abundance in the gill, all of which were found consistently across the three gill arches except 5-HIAA, which was undetectable in the first gill arch. Our findings indicate that the central nervous system does not directly control pulsatile urea excretion or local changes in gill 5-HT and 5-HIAA abundance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • 5-HIAA
  • 5-HT
  • 5-HT
  • Gills
  • Glossopharyngeal
  • SERT
  • Vagus
  • tUT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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