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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Balancing tissue perfusion demands: cardiovascular dynamics of Cancer magister during exposure to low salinity and hypoxia.

Decapod crustaceans inhabit aquatic environments that are frequently subjected to changes in salinity and oxygen content. The physiological responses of decapod crustaceans to either salinity or hypoxia are well documented; however, there are many fewer reports on the physiological responses during exposure to these parameters in combination. We investigated the effects of simultaneous and sequential combinations of low salinity and hypoxia on the cardiovascular physiology of the Dungeness crab, Cancer magister. Heart rate, as well as haemolymph flow rates through the anterolateral, hepatic, sternal and posterior arteries were measured using a pulsed-Doppler flowmeter. Summation of flows allowed calculation of cardiac output and division of this by heart rate yielded stroke volume. When hypoxia and low salinity were encountered simultaneously, the observed changes in cardiac properties tended to be a mix of both factors. Hypoxia caused a bradycardia, whereas exposure to low salinity was associated with a tachycardia. However, the hypoxic conditions had the dominant effect on heart rate. Although hypoxia caused an increase in stroke volume of the heart, the low salinity had a more pronounced effect, causing an overall decrease in stroke volume. The patterns of haemolymph flow through the arterial system also varied when hypoxia and low salinity were offered together. The resulting responses were a mix of those resulting from exposure to either parameter alone. When low salinity and hypoxia were offered sequentially, the parameter experienced first tended to have the dominant effect on cardiac function and haemolymph flows. Low salinity exposure was associated with an increase in heart rate, a decrease in stroke volume and cardiac output, and a concomitant decrease in haemolymph flow rates. Subsequent exposure to hypoxic conditions caused a slight decrease in rate, but other cardiovascular variables were largely unaffected. In contrast, when low salinity followed acclimation to hypoxic conditions, apart from an increased heart rate, there were no other cardiovascular changes associated with the low salinity episode. The implications of these changes in cardiovascular dynamics are discussed in relation to physiological mechanisms and the ecology of decapod crustaceans, in hypoxic or low salinity environments.[1]


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