The extreme elevation in plasma levels of free norepinephrine (NE) and free epinephrine (EP), which occurs during forced diving of ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), was studied before and after denervation of the adrenal glands. In intact animals both NE and EP concentration increased by up to two orders of magnitude in a 4-min dive but by a significantly lesser amount if the duck breathed O2 before the dive. Denervating the adrenal glands reduced the amounts of both catecholamines (CA) released during dives, plasma EP decreased to 10%, and NE to 50% of values obtained before denervation. Breathing O2 before a dive virtually eliminated CA release in denervates, indicating that hypoxia was the important non-neural releasing agent. Hypoxia was also the most important neural releasing agent compared with hypercapnia, acidosis, or hypoglycemia. Adrenal denervation did not cause significant changes in heart rate, blood pressure, arterial blood gas tensions, pH, or plasma glucose during dives, although denervation caused increased variation in some of these variables. In ducks CA release in dives is largely due to decreasing arterial O2 partial pressure, and full expression of the response is dependent on intact innervation of the adrenal gland.
- Copyright © 1987 the American Physiological Society