We have estimated the branchial venous blood flow in the Atlantic cod by direct single-crystal Doppler blood flow measurements in vivo. In the undisturbed animal, this flow amounts to 1.7 ml min−1 kg−1, which corresponds to about 8 % of the cardiac output. Studies of both an isolated perfused gill apparatus in situ and simultaneous measurements of cardiac output and branchial venous flow in vivo were made to assess the effects of some putative vasoregulatory substances. Adrenaline dilates the arterio-arterial pathway and constricts the arterio-venous pathway, thus decreasing branchial venous drainage. 5-Hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), in contrast, produced marked vasoconstriction in the arterio-arterial pathway of the branchial vasculature, increasing the branchial venous blood flow. Cholecystokinin-8 (CCK-8) and caerulein produced similar cardiovascular effects, with marked constriction of both arterio-arterial and arterio-venous pathways. The study demonstrates the ability of the vascular system of the gills to regulate the distribution of branchial blood flow, and summarizes the vasomotor effects of some substances with possible vasomotor function in the cod gills.

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