Anoxia-tolerant turtles and carp (Carassius) exhibit contrasting strategies for anoxic brain survival. In the turtle brain, the energy consumption is deeply depressed to the extent of producing a comatose-like state. Brain metabolic depression is brought about by activating channel arrest to reduce ion flux and through the release of inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and the upregulation of GABAA receptors. Key glycolytic enzymes are down-regulated during prolonged anoxia. The result is a suppression of neurotransmission and a substantial depression in brain electrical activity. By contrast, Carassius remain active during anoxia, though at a reduced level. As in the turtle, there is an adenosine-mediated increase in brain blood flow but, in contrast to the turtle, this increase is sustained throughout the anoxic period. Key glycolytic enzymes are up-regulated and anaerobic glycolysis is enhanced. There is no evidence of channel arrest in Carassius brain. The probable result is that electrical activity in the brain is not suppressed but instead maintained at a level sufficient to regulate and control the locomotory and sensory activities of the anoxic carp. The key adaptations permitting the continued high level of glycolysis in Carassius are the production and excretion of ethanol as the glycolytic end-product, which avoids self-pollution by lactate produced during glycolysis that occurs in other vertebrates.

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