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Metabolic responses to chronic hypoxic incubation in embryonic American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis).

Crossley, Dane A; Ling, Rick; Nelson, Derek; Gillium, Taylor; Conner, Justin; Hapgood, James; Elsey, Ruth M; Eme, John.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27584614
Chronic hypoxic incubation is a common tool used to study developmental changes in reduced O2 conditions, and it has been useful for identifying phenotypically plastic periods during ontogeny in laboratory settings. Reptilian embryos can be subjected to natural hypoxia due to nesting strategy, and recent studies have been important in establishing the phenotypic responses of several species to low developmental oxygen. In particular, the cardiovascular responses of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) to low developmental oxygen have been detailed, including a substantial cardiac enlargement that may support a higher mass specific metabolic rate. However, embryo mass-specific metabolic demands of hypoxic incubated alligator embryos have not been measured. In this study, alligator eggs were incubated in 10% O2 (H) or 21% O2 (N) environments for the entire course of embryonic development. Acute metabolic measures in 21% and 10% O2 were taken for both H and N groups. We hypothesized that acute 10% O2 exposure has no impact on metabolic rate of embryonic alligators, and that metabolic rate is unaffected by chronic hypoxic incubation when studied in embryos measured at 21% O2. Our findings suggest phenotypic changes resulting from hypoxic incubation early in incubation, in particular relative cardiac enlargement, enable embryonic alligators to sustain metabolic rate during acute hypoxic exposure.
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