Effect of anoxia on the electroretinogram of three anoxia-tolerant vertebrates
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To survive anoxia, neural ATP levels have to be defended. Reducing electrical activity, which accounts for 50% or more of neural energy consumption, should be beneficial for anoxic survival. The retina is a hypoxia sensitive part of the central nervous system. Here, we quantify the in vivo retinal light response (electroretinogram; ERG) in three vertebrates that exhibit varying degrees of anoxia tolerance: freshwater turtle (Trachemys scripta), epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) and leopard frog (Rana pipiens). A virtually total suppression of ERG in anoxia, probably resulting in functional blindness, has previously been seen in the extremely anoxia-tolerant crucian carp (Carassius carassius). Surprisingly, the equally anoxiatolerant turtle, which strongly depresses brain and whole-body metabolism during anoxia, exhibited a relatively modest anoxic reduction in ERG: the combined amplitude of turtle ERG waves was reduced by ~50% after 2 h. In contrast, the shark b-wave amplitude practically disappeared after 30 min of severe hypoxia, and the frog b-wave was decreased by ~75% after 40 min in anoxia. The specific A1 adenosine receptor antagonist CPT significantly delayed the suppression of turtle ERG, while the hypoxic shark ERG was unaffected by the non-specific adenosine receptor antagonist aminophylline, suggesting adenosinergic involvement in turtle but not in shark.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology