Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 31–41 | Cite as

Cardiac remodelling, blood chemistry, haematology and oxygen consumption of Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua L., induced by experimental haemolytic anaemia with phenylhydrazine

  • Mark D. Powell
  • Melissa S. Burke
  • Dalia Dahle


Anaemia is a common pathology associated with many infectious and non-infectious diseases. The effects of haemolytic anaemia induced by i.p. injection of phenylhydrazine (PHZ) were studied in Atlantic cod. Phenylhydrazine injection (0.3 mg kg−1) in a DMSO and saline vehicle induced a reproducible and stable anaemia reducing haematocrit, (Hct) by 62% over 3 weeks. Controls consisted of fish injected with saline and DMSO/saline vehicle with minimal effects on Hct or whole blood haemoglobin (Hb). Although anaemia resulted in reduced blood lactate and glucose in PHZ injected fish, there were no effects of anaemia on blood, sodium, chloride or potassium. Similarly, there were no changes in the relative proportions of leucocytes in the blood although an increase in the number of immature erythrocytes was observed in the anaemic fish. Anaemic fish showed a 29 and 22% increase in cardiac somatic index (CSI) relative to saline and vehicle controls, respectively, although there were no significant differences in the linear dimensions of the ventricle. Changes in cardiac somatic and ventricular somatic index correlated positively and significantly with Hct but not with whole blood Hb concentration. Anaemic fish had significantly reduced resting routine oxygen consumption compared with vehicle controls but were not able to increase oxygen consumption following a bout of exhaustive exercise. Plasma lactate concentrations increased significantly after exercise to a greater extent in anaemic fish compared with vehicle control fish. Phenylhydrazine is a useful model for studying haemolytic anaemia in Atlantic cod with minimal effects on blood biochemistry and haematology and clearly reduces the aerobic capacity in Atlantic cod.


Atlantic cod Cardiac compensation Anaemia Haematocrit Hypertrophy Leucocytes 



The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Shelly Dwyer in sample collection and Anil Amin for assistance with photomicrography. We would like to acknowledge the input and suggestions made by two anonymous reviewers. This work was supported through a research grant from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles to MDP.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Powell
    • 1
  • Melissa S. Burke
    • 1
  • Dalia Dahle
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Biosciences and AquacultureBodø University CollegeBodøNorway

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