Changes in Heart Rate During Progressive Hyperoxia in the Dogfish Scyliorhinus Canicula L.: Evidence for a Venous Oxygen Receptor

Comp Biochem Physiol A Comp Physiol. 1984;78(4):697-703. doi: 10.1016/0300-9629(84)90619-4.


Progressive hyperoxia caused a gradual increase in arterial blood oxygen tension (PaO2). Initially there was no change in venous O2 tension (PvO2) but in extreme hyperoxia (PO2 650 mmHg) it increased to 2.5 times the normoxic (PO2 150 mmHg) level (Table 1). Ventilation frequency gradually decreased down to 73% of the normoxic value as PO2 rose towards a maximum at 700 mmHg (Fig. 1). In moderately hyperoxic water (mean PO2 233 mmHg) heart rate (fH) increased significantly above the normoxic level. Further increases in ambient PO2 caused a progressive reduction in fH to a level significantly below the normoxic rate in extreme hyperoxia (Fig. 2). Injection of atropine abolished these changes, and the atropinized fH was similar to that measured during moderate hyperoxia. The initial increase in fH during progressive hyperoxia is attributed to release of vagal tone, due to removal of normoxic stimulation of peripheral oxygen receptors; whereas, the secondary bradycardia is attributed to the stimulation of oxygen receptors located in the venous system. Injection of 5 ml of hyperoxaemic blood into the venous system of normoxic fish caused a transient bradycardia (Fig. 3), lasting a mean of 73 sec, which is the approximate time for passage of the blood volume of the venous system through the heart. This bradycardia was neither pH dependent nor a pressor response and provides supporting evidence for the existence of a venous oxygen receptor.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Dogfish / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate*
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation*
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Oxygen / physiology
  • Respiration
  • Sharks / physiology*
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology*
  • Veins


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen