Seven things fish know about ammonia and we don't

Patricia A. Wright, Chris M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


In this review we pose the following seven questions related to ammonia and fish that represent gaps in our knowledge. 1. How is ammonia excretion linked to sodium uptake in freshwater fish? 2. How much does branchial ammonia excretion in seawater teleosts depend on Rhesus (Rh) glycoprotein-mediated NH3 diffusion? 3. How do fish maintain ammonia excretion rates if branchial surface area is reduced or compromised? 4. Why does high environmental ammonia change the transepithelial potential across the gills? 5. Does high environmental ammonia increase gill surface area in ammonia tolerant fish but decrease gill surface area in ammonia intolerant fish? 6. How does ammonia contribute to ventilatory control? 7. What do Rh proteins do when they are not transporting ammonia? Mini reviews on each topic, which are able to present only partial answers to each question at present, are followed by further questions and/or suggestions for research approaches targeted to uncover answers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-240
Number of pages10
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


  • Ammonia excretion
  • Ammonia toxicity
  • Gill remodeling
  • Na uptake
  • Rhesus (Rh) glycoproteins
  • Transepithelial potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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