In situ cardiac performance of Pacific bluefin tuna hearts in response to acute temperature change

J Exp Biol. 2004 Feb;207(Pt 5):881-90. doi: 10.1242/jeb.00820.


This study reports the cardiovascular physiology of the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) in an in situ heart preparation. The performance of the Pacific bluefin tuna heart was examined at temperatures from 30 degrees C down to 2 degrees C. Heart rates ranged from 156 beats min(-1) at 30 degrees C to 13 beats min(-1) at 2 degrees C. Maximal stroke volumes were 1.1 ml x kg(-1) at 25 degrees C and 1.3 ml x kg(-1) at 2 degrees C. Maximal cardiac outputs were 18.1 ml x kg(-1) min(-1) at 2 degrees C and 106 ml x kg(-1) min(-1) at 25 degrees C. These data indicate that cardiovascular function in the Pacific bluefin tuna exhibits a strong temperature dependence, but cardiac function is retained at temperatures colder than those tolerated by tropical tunas. The Pacific bluefin tuna's cardiac performance in the cold may be a key adaptation supporting the broad thermal niche of the bluefin tuna group in the wild. In situ data from Pacific bluefin are compared to in situ measurements of cardiac performance in yellowfin tuna and preliminary results from albacore tuna.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Citrate (si)-Synthase
  • Diving / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Stroke Volume / physiology*
  • Temperature*
  • Tuna / physiology*


  • Citrate (si)-Synthase