Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology

Characterization of the functional and anatomical differences in the atrial and ventricular myocardium from three species of elasmobranch fishes: smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis), sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), and clearnose skate (Raja eglanteria).

PMID 27686667


We assessed the functional properties in atrial and ventricular myocardium (using isolated cardiac strips) of smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis), clearnose skate (Raja eglanteria), and sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus) by blocking Ca(2+) release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) with ryanodine and thapsigargin and measuring the resultant changes in contraction-relaxation parameters and the force-frequency relationship at 20 °C and 30 °C. We also examined ultrastructural differences with electron microscopy. In tissues from smooth dogfish, net force (per cross-sectional area) and measures of the speeds of contraction and relaxation were all higher in atrial than ventricular myocardium at both temperatures. Atrial-ventricular differences were evident in the other two species primarily in measures of the rates of contraction and relaxation. Ryanodine-thapsigargin treatment reduced net force and its maximum positive first derivative (i.e., contractility), and increased time to 50 % relaxation in atrial tissue from smooth dogfish at 30 °C. It also increased times to peak force and half relaxation in clearnose skate atrial and ventricular tissue at both temperatures, but only in atrial tissue from sandbar shark at 30 °C; indicating that SR involvement in excitation-contraction (EC) coupling is species- and temperature-specific in elasmobranch fishes, as it is in teleost fishes. Atrial and ventricular myocardium from all three species displayed a negative force-frequency relationship, but there was no evidence that SR involvement in EC coupling was influenced by heart rate. SR was evident in electron micrographs, generally located in proximity to mitochondria and intercalated discs, and to a lesser extent between the myofibrils; with mitochondria being more numerous in ventricular than atrial myocardium in all three species.