The physiological integrity of the in situ perfused heart of the ocean pout was established by its ability to maintain cardiac output (Q) over a range of work loads, and by the dependence of Q upon the filling pressure of the heart. Similar observations have been reported previously for the in situ perfused heart of the sea raven. Physiological levels of extracellular acidosis (pH 7.6/1% CO2 and pH 7.4/2% CO2) significantly depressed cardiac performance in sea raven and ocean pout hearts in situ. Negative chronotropic and inotropic responses were observed. Adrenaline (AD; 10(−7) M) under control conditions (pH 7.9/0.5% CO2) produced a sustained tachycardia. The tachycardia reduced filling time of the ventricle and stroke volume was compromised because of the constant preload to the heart. Consequently, AD produced only an initial, transient increase in stroke volume and Q. Thereafter, stroke volume was reduced in proportion with the increase in heart rate, and Q remained unchanged. The combined challenge of extracellular acidosis and AD demonstrated interactive effects between AD and acidosis in situ. Q and power output were maintained in both species at both levels of extracellular acidosis during the combined challenge. Thus AD alone can maintain (but not improve upon) basal Q during extracellular acidosis. The effects of extracellular acidosis, circulating catecholamines and venous return pressure to the heart are discussed in relation to the regulation of Q following exhaustive exercise.

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