A Rapid Intrinsic Heart Rate Resetting Response with Thermal Acclimation in Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss

May 11, 2020 | Biology

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Rachel L. Sutcliffe, Shaorong Li, Matthew J. H. Gilbert, Patricia M. Schulte, Kristi M. Miller, and Anthony P. Farrell

We examined cardiac pacemaker rate resetting in rainbow trout following a reciprocal temperature transfer. In the original experiment, performed in winter, 4°C-acclimated fish transferred to 12°C reset intrinsic heart rate after just 1 h (from 56.8±1.2 to 50.8±1.5 bpm); 12°C-acclimated fish transferred to 4°C reset intrinsic heart rate after 8 h (from 33.4±0.7 to 37.7±1.2 bpm). However, in a replicate experiment, performed in the summer using a different brood year, intrinsic heart rate was not reset, even after 10 weeks at a new temperature. Using this serendipitous opportunity, we compared mRNA expression changes of a suite of proteins in sinoatrial node (SAN), atrial and ventricular tissues after both 1 h and longer than 3 weeks for both experimental acclimation groups to identify those changes only associated with pacemaker rate resetting. Of the changes in mRNA expression occurring after more than 3 weeks of warm acclimation and associated with pacemaker rate resetting, we observed downregulation of NKA α1c in the atrium and ventricle, and upregulation of HCN1 in the ventricle. However, in the SAN there were no mRNA expression changes unique to the fish with pacemaker rate resetting after either 1 h or 3 weeks of warm acclimation. Thus, despite identifying changes in mRNA expression of contractile cardiac tissues, there was absence of changes in mRNA expression directly involved with the initial, rapid pacemaker rate resetting with warm acclimation. Importantly, pacemaker rate resetting with thermal acclimation does not always occur in rainbow trout... More of this in the Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB) Blog.

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