Necrophysiological determination of blood pressure in fishes


Bony fishes have an elastic chamber between the heart and aorta, the bulbus arteriosus, which has unique mechanical properties. On inflation, the isolated bulbus is initially very stiff but soon becomes extremely compliant yielding a steady (plateau) pressure upon further inflation, which appears to be similar in any given species. Here we show that the plateau pressure correlates with mean blood pressure determined in vivo. Consequently, inflation of the bulbus can be used to determine blood pressure in the living animal from recordings made after it is dead.

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We are grateful to Manuela Gardner for invaluable help with data analysis and preparation of the manuscript and Andreas Fahlman for help with the regression analysis. We are grateful to many people who helped in procuring fish for this study including Richard Brill, Amanda Southwood, Bob Devlin, Mervin Hastings and Brian Bostrom. Financial assistance was provided by a Discovery grant from NSERC (DRJ) and a Cambridge University Gates scholarship (MHB).

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Correspondence to David R. Jones.

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Jones, D.R., Perbhoo, K. & Braun, M.H. Necrophysiological determination of blood pressure in fishes. Naturwissenschaften 92, 582–585 (2005).

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  • Rainbow Trout
  • Bony Fish
  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • Dead Fish
  • Ventral Aorta