Morphometrics and ultrastructure of myocardial tissue in Notothenioid fishes

Antarctic fish of the family Channichthyidae (Icefishes) lack the respiratory pigments haemoglobin and myoglobin. The morphometrics and ultrastructure of the ventricular myocardium of a benthic icefish,Chaenocephalus aceratus has been compared with that of a red-blooded Notothenioid fish,Notothenia neglecta, of similar habit. The mass of ventricular muscle as a percentage of bodyweight is 3 times greater in adultC. aceratus (0.32%) thanN. neglecta (0.11%). Myoglobin concentration in the ventricle ofN. neglecta, 20 nmoles/g, is comparable to that of temperate teleosts with similar activity patterns. The volume and surface densities of mitochondria are 41.5% and 0.32 μm−1 for Icefish and 25% and 0.15 μm−1 forN. neglecta, Cytochrome oxidase activities are similar in the two tissues whilst the volume density of myofibrils is higher forN. neglecta (47%) thanC. aceratus (29.9%). The proliferation of mitochondria in the myocardium of Icefish will reduce the diffusion path-length for oxygen between ventricular lumen and the outer mitochondrial membrane and may compensate for the absence of myoglobin.


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Authors: Johnston, Ian A., Harrison, Paul

1 January, 1987
Fish Physiology and Biochemistry / 3
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