The effects of digesting a urea-rich meal on North Pacific spiny dogfish

Published on
25. July 2020

The effects of digesting a urea-rich meal on North Pacific spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias suckleyi)

J. Lisa Hoogenboom, Alyssa M. Weinrauch, Chris M. Wood, W. Gary Anderson


Marine elasmobranchs are nitrogen-limited owing to the requirement of nitrogen for both somatic growth and urea-based osmoregulation, and due to the loss of urea across the gills and kidney as nitrogenous waste. In this study we used in vitro stomach and intestinal gut sacs to investigate the effects of consuming a urea-rich meal (700 mM within a 2% body-mass ration of food-slurry) on nitrogen movement across the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of North Pacific spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias suckleyi). Plasma urea concentrations did not differ between fasted (359 ± 19 mM), urea-poor fed (340 ± 16 mM), and urea-rich fed (332 ± 24 mM) dogfish. Interestingly, in vitro gut sacs of urea-rich fed dogfish showed no net urea absorption from the lumen over 3 h incubation, which contrasts previously published data on urea-poor fed dogfish that absorb urea from the lumen. In addition, ammonium (NH4+) concentration within the gut sac intestinal lumen significantly increased from 0.62 to 4.35 mM over 3 h. This is likely due to a combination of tissue production and microbial urease activity in the intestine. The overall results highlight the ability of S. a. suckleyi to regulate and maintain internal nitrogen concentrations despite the addition of excess dietary urea.

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, Volume 249, November 2020, 110775, DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2020.110775


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