On the cardiac control in the South American lungfish, Lepidosiren paradoxa
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1. 1. The mechanisms behind cardiac control were investigated in the South American lungfish, Lepidosiren paradoxa, using fish with chronically implanted cannulae and electromagnetic flow probes. In addition, a preliminary study was made of the cardiovascular events associated with air breathing. 2. 2. The study suggests that the heart of Lepidosiren is controlled by cholinergic vagal fibres which, in some animals, exert a tonic influence in the resting fish. Cyclic changes in heart rate in association with air breaths is due to modulation of this cholinergic tonus. 3. 3. In addition to the variable cholinergic tonus, there appears to be a relatively stable adrenergic tonus on the heart, which causes an elevated heart rate. The adrenergic tonus is likely to be due to local release of catecholamines from endogenous chromaffin cells within the atrium. 4. 4. Preliminary results suggest that pulmonary arterial flow increases by about 50% immediately following an air breath. The mechanism behind this increase probably involves both an elevation of the heart rate and a redistribution of blood flow into the pulmonary circuit. © 1989.