We developed an in situ perfused turtle (Chrysemys scripta) heart preparation to study its intrinsic mechanical properties at 5 degrees C and 15 degrees C using normoxic and anoxic perfusion conditions. The in situ preparation proved durable and stable. At 15 degrees C and a spontaneous heart rate of 23.4 beats min(-1), maximum stroke volume was 2.54 mlkg(-1) body mass, maximum cardiac output was 62.5 mlmin(-1) kg(-1) and maximum cardiac myocardial power output was 1.50 mW g(-1) ventricular mass. There was good agreement between these values and those previously obtained in vivo. Furthermore, since the maximum stroke volume observed here was numerically equivalent to that observed in ventilating C. scripta in vivo, it seems likely that C. scripta has little scope to increase stroke volume to a level much beyond that observed in the resting animal through intrinsic mechanisms alone. The ability of the perfused turtle heart to maintain stroke volume when diastolic afterload was raised (homeometric regulation) was relatively poor.
At 5 degrees C, the spontaneous heart rate (8.1 beats min(-1)) was threefold lower and homeometric regulation was impaired, but maximum stroke volume (2.25 mlkg(-1)) was not significantly reduced compared with the value at 15 degrees C. The significantly lower maximum values for cardiac output (18.9 mlmin(-1) kg(-1)) and power output (0.39 mW g(-1) ventricular mass) at 5 degrees C were largely related to pronounced negative chronotropy with only a relatively small negative inotropy.
Anoxia had weak negative chronotropic effects and marked negative inotropic effects at both temperatures. Negative inotropy affected pressure development to a greater degree than maximum flow and this difference was more pronounced at 5 degrees C than at 15 degrees C. The maximum anoxic cardiac power output value at 15 degrees C (0.77 mW g(-1) ventricular mass) was not that different from values previously obtained for the performance of anoxic rainbow trout and hagfish hearts. In view of this, we conclude that the ability of turtles to overwinter under anoxic conditions depends more on their ability to reduce cardiac work to a level that can be supported through glycolysis than on their cardiac glycolytic potential being exceptional.
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||The Journal of Experimental Biology|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 1994|