Is the alkaline tide a signal to activate metabolic or ionoregulatory enzymes in the dogfish shark (Squalus acanthias)?

Chris M. Wood, Makiko Kajimura, Thomas P. Mommsen, Patrick J. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Experimental metabolic alkalosis is known to stimulate wholeanimal urea production and active ion secretion by the rectal gland in the dogfish shark. Furthermore, recent evidence indicates that a marked alkaline tide (systemic metabolic alkalosis) follows feeding in this species and that the activities of the enzymes of the ornithine-urea cycle (OUC) for urea synthesis in skeletal muscle and liver and of energy metabolism and ion transport in the rectal gland are increased at this time. We therefore evaluated whether alkalosis and/or NaCl/volume loading (which also occurs with feeding) could serve as a signal for activation of these enzymes independent of nutrient loading. Fasted dogfish were infused for 20 h with either 500 mmol L-1 NaHCO3 (alkalosis + volume expansion) or 500 mmol L-1 NaCl (volume expansion alone), both isosmotic to dogfish plasma, at a rate of 3 mL kg-1 h-1. NaHCO3 infusion progressively raised arterial pH to 8.28 (control = 7.85) and plasma [HCO3-] to 20.8 mmol L-1 (control = 4.5 mmol L-1) at 20 h, with unchanged arterial PCO2, whereas NaCl/volume loading had no effect on blood acid-base status. Rectal gland Na+,K+-ATPase activity was increased 50% by NaCl loading and more than 100% by NaHCO3 loading, indicating stimulatory effects of both volume expansion and alkalosis. Rectal gland lactate dehydrogenase activity was elevated 25% by both treatments, indicating volume expansion effects only, whereas neither treatment increased the activities of the aerobic enzymes citrate synthase, NADP-isocitrate dehydrogenase, or the ketone body-utilizing enzyme β-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase in the rectal gland or liver. The activity of ornithine-citrulline transcarbamoylase in skeletal muscle was doubled by NaHCO3 infusion, but neither treatment altered the activities of other OUC-related enzymes (glutamine synthetase, carbamoylphosphate synthetase III). We conclude that both the alkaline tide and salt loading/volume expansion act as signals to activate some but not all of the elevated metabolic pathways and iono-regulatory mechanisms needed during processing of a meal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-287
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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