The effects of arginine vasotocin and catecholamines on nitrogen excretion and the cardio-respiratory physiology of the gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta

S. F. Perry, K. M. Gilmour, C. M. Wood, P. Pärt, P. Laurent, P. J. Walsh

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19 Scopus citations


Simultaneous measurements of cardio-respiratory variables, oxygen uptake and whole body urea/ammonia/tritiated water effluxes were performed on cannulated gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta, before and after intra-arterial injection of the vasoactive agents, adrenaline, isoproterenol and arginine vasotocin. These experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that the phenomenon of pulsatile urea excretion might reflect sudden changes in the general diffusive properties of the gill for solute transfer. Injection of isoproterenol (final nominal circulating level = 10-6 mol l-1), was used as a tool to maximise the diffusive and perfusive conditions for branchial solute transfer. This protocol caused a pronounced reduction in arterial blood pressure, an elevation of cardiac frequency and associated increases in whole body urea and tritiated water effluxes; ammonia excretion and oxygen uptake were unaffected. Injection of adrenaline (final nominal circulating level = 10-6 mol l-1), caused a significant increase in arterial blood pressure and a tachycardia, yet nitrogen excretion and oxygen uptake were unaffected. Injection of arginine vasotocin, caused a dose-dependent (final nominal circulating levels = 10-11-10-9 mol l-1) increase in arterial blood pressure without affecting cardiac or ventilation frequency. At the two higher concentrations, arginine vasotocin caused large and transient increases in urea excretion without significantly affecting ammonia, water or oxygen fluxes. These results suggest that increased gill diffusive or perfusive conductance, while capable of augmenting urea efflux, cannot fully explain the sudden and massive increases in urea transfer associated with pulsatile urea excretion in toadfish. It is suggested that pulsatile urea excretion in this species may reflect a specific enhancement of urea excretion under the control of the neurohypophyseal hormone, arginine vasotocin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-472
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology - B Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 1998



  • Adrenaline
  • Ammonia
  • Arginine vasotocin
  • Gill
  • Urea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Physiology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Physiology (medical)

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