Effects of temperature and physical activity on blood flow shunts and intracardiac mixing in the toad Bufo marinus

Physiol Biochem Zool. Sep-Oct 1999;72(5):509-19. doi: 10.1086/316693.


Blood flow in systemic (.Qsys) and pulmocutaneous (.Qpul) arteries was measured as a function of body temperature (10 degrees, 20 degrees, and 30 degrees C) at rest and following enforced physical activity in conscious, adult cane toads (Bufo marinus). Arterial and mixed venous hemoglobin concentration (CHb) and total oxygen content (Co2, tot) were measured in a separate group under identical conditions. Heart rate (fH) and total flow (.Qtot) increased significantly (P<0.001) with elevated temperature and with activity, whereas stroke volume (VS) increased (P<0.001) only with activity. .Qtot ranged about 10-fold, from 10 degrees C (rest) to 30 degrees C (activity); increases in both fH and VS contributed to the increase in .Qtot. The overall distribution of blood to the pulmocutaneous circuit (net L-R shunt) increased with both temperature and activity and was significantly correlated with .Qtot. These data indicate that blood flow distribution in toads is a direct function of cardiac output, and this is linked to relative changes in resistance in the major outflow vessels. Arterial O2 saturation (Sa) was high (mean=93%) in all conditions except activity at 30 degrees C, when it decreased to 74% and contributed to a decrease in the arteriovenous O2 difference. Venous O2 saturation (Sv) was high at rest (76%) and dropped significantly during activity to about 30% at all temperatures. Intracardiac arterial-venous mixing (systemic mixing index) showed the strongest correlation with variation in fH with minimal mixing (17%) occurring at about 50 beats min-1. The most mixing occurred at the lowest fH (13 beats min-1) and at the highest fH (103 beats min-1). The results indicate that the heart of a 0.25-kg toad becomes more efficient from an oxygen transport perspective from low fH to 50 beats min-1 and then less efficient at higher fH, contributing to an uncoupling of blood flow and metabolic rates at these high rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature
  • Bufo marinus / physiology*
  • Cardiac Output
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Circulation


  • Oxygen