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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Hemodynamic responses to warming in euryhaline rainbow trout: implications of the osmo-respiratory compromise

Morgenroth, Daniel; Ekstrom, Andreas; Hjelmstedt, Per; Grans, Albin; Axelsson, Michael; Sandblom, Erik


In seawater, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) drink and absorb water through the gastrointestinal tract to compensate for water passively lost to the hyperosmotic environment. Concomitantly, they exhibit elevated cardiac output and a doubling of gastrointestinal blood flow to provide additional O-2 to the gut and increase convective flux of absorbed ions and water. Yet, it is unknown how warming waters, which elevate tissue O-2 demand and the rate of diffusion of ions and water across the gills (i.e. the osmo-respiratory compromise), affects these processes. We measured cardiovascular and blood variables of rainbow trout acclimated to freshwater and seawater during acute warming from 11 to 17 degrees C. Relative to freshwater-acclimated trout, cardiac output was 34% and 55% higher in seawater-acclimated trout at 11 and 17 degrees C, respectively, which allowed them to increase gastrointestinal blood flow significantly more during warming (increases of 75% in seawater vs. 31% in freshwater). These adjustments likely served to mitigate the impact of warming on osmotic balance, as changes in ionic and osmotic blood composition were minor. Furthermore, seawater-acclimated trout seemingly had a lower tissue O-2 extraction, explaining why trout acclimated to freshwater and seawater often exhibit similar metabolic rates, despite a higher cardiac output in seawater. Our results highlight a novel role of gastrointestinal blood perfusion in the osmo-respiratory compromise in fish, and improve our understanding of the physiological changes euryhaline fishes must undergo when faced with interacting environmental challenges such as transient warming events.


Cardiovascular; Gastrointestinal blood flow; Oncorhynchus mykiss; Osmoregulation; Warming

Published in

Journal of Experimental Biology
2019, Volume: 222, number: 17, article number: jeb207522