Effects of dehydration on cardiovascular development in the embryonic American alligator (Alligator mississipiensis)

Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203, USA.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology (Impact Factor: 1.97). 03/2012; 162(3):252-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2012.03.013
Source: PubMed


Effects of dehydration on reptilian embryonic cardiovascular function are unknown. Here, we present the first morphological and physiological data quantifying the cumulative effects of four acute dehydration events on the embryonic American alligator, Alligator mississipiensis. We hypothesized that dehydration would alter embryonic morphology, reduce blood volume and augment the response to angiotensin II (Ang II), a key osmotic and blood volume regulatory response element in adult vertebrates. Drying events at 30%, 40%, 50%, and 60% of embryonic incubation reduced total egg water content by 14.43 ± 0.37 g, a 3.4 fold increase relative to controls. However, embyronic blood volume was greater in the dehydration group at 70% of embryonic incubation compared to controls (0.39 ± 0.044 mLg(-1) and 0.22 ± 0.03 mLg(-1), respectively), however, both groups were similar at 90% of incubation (0.18 ± 0.02 mLg(-1) in the controls and 0.23 ± 0.03 mLg(-1) in the dehydrated group). Dehydration altered the morphological phenotype and resulted in an overall reduction in embryonic mass at both incubation time points measured. Dehydration also altered the physiological phenotype, resulting in embryonic alligators that were relatively bradycardic at 90% of incubation. Arterial Ang II injections resulted in a dose dependent hypertension, which increased in intensity over the span of incubation studied. While progressive incubation altered the Ang II response, dehydration had no impact on the cardiovascular responses to the peptide. Quantification of Ang II type-1 receptor protein using western blot analysis illustrated that dehydration condition and incubation time point did not alter protein quantity. Collectively, our results show that dehydration during embryonic development of the American alligator alters embryonic morphology and baseline heart rate without altering arterial pressure and response to Ang II.

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Available from: Dane A Crossley, Mar 08, 2015
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    • "Drugs were administered via a T connector in the arterial line, and total individual injection volumes were normalized according to embryonic age and did not surpass 5 % of total blood volume (100 ll for 70 % and 150 ll for 90 %; Tate et al. 2012). Each injection consisted of 1/3 drug (30 and 50 ll for 70 and 90 % embryos, respectively) and 2/3 saline to ensure drug entered the CAM artery (Crossley et al. 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental conditions play a major role in shaping reptilian embryonic development, but studies addressing the impact of interactions between chronic and acute environmental stressors on embryonic systems are lacking. In the present study, we investigated thermal dependence of cholinergic and adrenergic cardiovascular tone in embryonic American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) and assessed possible phenotypic plasticity in a chronic hypoxic incubation treatment. We compared changes in heart rate (f H) and mean arterial blood pressure (P M) for chronically hypoxic and normoxic-incubated embryos after cholinergic and adrenergic blockade following three different acute temperature treatments: (1) 30 °C (control incubation temperature), (2) acute, progressive decrease 30-24 °C then held at 24 °C, and (3) acute, progressive increase 30-36 °C then held at 36 °C. f H progressively fell in response to decreasing temperature and rose in response to increasing temperature. P M did not significantly change with decreasing temperature, but was lowered significantly with increasing acute temperature in the normoxic group at 90 % of development only. Propranolol administration (β adrenergic antagonist) produced a significant f H decrease at 24, 30, and 36 °C that was similar at all temperatures for all groups. For normoxic-incubated embryos at 90 % of development, atropine administration (cholinergic antagonist) significantly increased f H in both 24 and 36 °C treatments, but not in the 30 °C control treatment. This atropine response at 24 and 36 °C demonstrated acute thermally dependent cholinergic tone on f H late in development for normoxic-incubated, but not chronically hypoxic-incubated embryos. Collectively, data indicated that cardiovascular control mechanisms in embryonic alligators may be activated by thermal extremes, and the maturation of control mechanisms was delayed by chronic hypoxia.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of Comparative Physiology B
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    • "−1 ; Tate et al., 2012 "
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    ABSTRACT: We used arterial tyramine injections to study development of sympathetic actions on in vivo heart rate and blood pressure in embryonic, hatching and yearling female American alligators. Tyramine is a pharmacological tool for understanding comparative and developmental sympathetic regulation of cardiovascular function, and this indirect sympathomimetic agent causes endogenous neuronal catecholamine release, increasing blood pressure and heart rate. Arterial tyramine injection in hatchling and yearling alligators caused the typical vertebrate response - rise in heart rate and blood pressure. However, in embryonic alligators, tyramine caused a substantial and immediate bradycardia at both 70% and 90% of embryonic development. This embryonic bradycardia was accompanied by hypotension, followed by a sustained hypertension similar to the hatchling and juvenile responses. Pretreatment with atropine injection (cholinergic receptor blocker) eliminated the embryonic hypotensive bradycardia, and phentolamine pretreatment (α-adrenergic receptor blocker) eliminated the embryonic hypotensive and hypertensive responses but not the bradycardia. In addition, hexamethonium pretreatment (nicotinic receptor blocker) significantly blunted embryos' bradycardic tyramine response. However, pretreatment with 6-hydroxydopamine, a neurotoxin that destroys catecholaminergic terminals, did not eliminate the embryonic bradycardia. Tyramine likely stimulated a unique embryonic response - neurotransmitter release from preganglionic nerve terminals (blocked with hexamethonium) and an acetylcholine mediated bradycardia with a secondary norepinephrine-dependent sustained hypertension. In addition, tyramine appears to stimulate sympathetic nerve terminals directly, which contributed to the overall hypertension in the embryonic, hatchling and yearling animals. Data demonstrated that humoral catecholamine control over cardiovascular function was dominant over the immature parasympathetic nervous system in developing alligator embryos, and suggested that sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve terminals were present and developing in ovo but were not tonically active.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology
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    • "F. DeNardo, pers. comm.), we assume that water balance is necessary for successful development, offspring quality and postbirth survival (Bradshaw, 1997; Ladyman & Bradshaw, 2003; Gardner-Santana & Beaupre, 2009; Tate et al., 2012). Water loss in squamates and other reptiles that occupy xeric environments is strongly dependent on several environmental variables (Nagy, 1987), such that there are presumed trade-offs between preferred body temperatures during pregnancy, movements and dehydration. "
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    ABSTRACT: For various reasons, reduction or cessation of feeding (anorexia) can occur in either sex during periods of reproduction among vertebrates, from cichlids to elephant seals. Anorexia is commonly associated with gestation in snakes. Using radiotelemetry, we investigated the feeding and spatial ecology of a live-bearing viperid snake, the western diamond-backed rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox). Specifi-cally, from 2001 to 2010, we determined the feeding frequency and home range size of adult females (n = 27) during the active season (March–October) in a popula-tion from the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. We addressed a central hypothesis: Do hunting and feeding occur throughout pregnancy? Also, we tested a corollary hypothesis: Does pregnancy influence home range size? We documented hunting and feeding from March to October and during pregnancy (June to mid-September). Feeding frequency was significantly greater in late pregnancy, a result that is in sharp contrast to most other large-bodied vipers. Furthermore, home range sizes in gestating subjects did not differ from those in nonreproductive years. Births occurred from mid-August to mid-September and mean litter size was 3.4. Frequent feeding in C. atrox during gestation unquestionably provides energy and nutrients to the mother, which is likely important for survival, but such food consumption does not imply that nutrients are used by the fetuses. There is, however, recent evidence in other snakes, including a pitviper, that amino acids are transferred to fetuses. Feeding during pregnancy in C. atrox may be important for both income and capital mode reproduction. Hunting and feeding throughout gestation might be accomplished by having relatively small litters not burdened by a body cavity filled with fetuses. Reduction in litter size may thus be a life-history (fecundity) trade-off that permits females to survive and maintain pregnancy in regions where drought and high temperatures are often extreme and chronic.
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