Spontaneous contractions in elasmobranch vessels in vitro

Kenneth R. Olson, Malcolm E. Forster, Peter G. Bushnell, Douglas W. Duff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Isolated vessels from four elasmobranchs, yellow stingray (Urolophus jamaicensis), clearnose skate (Raja eglanteria), ghost shark (Hydrolagus novaezelandiae), and spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias), were examined for the presence of spontaneous contractions (SC). SC were observed in otherwise unstimulated dorsal aortas (DA) from stingray and ghost shark, but not in skate DA. Unstimulated ventral aortas (VA) did not exhibit SC. After treatment of VA with a contractile agonist, SC appeared in stingray and skate but not ghost shark or dogfish. SC in stingray VA were subsequently inhibited by either epinephrine (10-5 M) or indomethacin (10-4 M). Agonist contraction also elicited strong SC in ductus Cuvier from stingray, but not from ghost shark or dogfish. SC in dogfish hepatic portal veins (HPV) produced a rhythmical oscillation in tension. The frequency of HPV SC was highest (~1 min-1) in intact veins and lower (~3 min-1) in vein segments, indicative of a dominant pacemaker in the intact vessel. SC in HPV were depressed during the first 30 min of hypoxia, but there was substantial recovery over an additional 30 min of hypoxia and complete recovery upon return to normoxia. Addition of 80 mM KCl completely inhibited HPV SC and lowered resting tone. These results show that SC are a common feature of elasmobranch vessels and there appears to be a correlation between swimming behavior and the propensity for SC. KCl inhibition of SC and tonus in HPV is highly unusual for vascular smooth muscle. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-614
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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