Changes in intestinal fluid transport in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L) during parr-smolt transformation

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We examined changes in fluid transport by the intestine of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L) undergoing parrsmolt transformation during springtime. In vitro measurements of fluid transport rate (Jv) across non-everted middle and posterior intestinal sac preparations were made in late April and early June 1990 and from February through June 1991 for juvenile smolting fish. Intestinal Jv was also compared between parr- and smolt-stage salmon in both years. To evaluate the osmoregulatory role of the intestine, Jv was measured for smolts adapted to seawater and their cohorts remaining in fresh water. The middle intestine of smolting fish underwent a significant decrease in fluid transport during the springtime, while posterior intestinal Jv significantly increased. Parr-stage fish decreased Jv in the middle intestine during springtime similar to smolts. However, the posterior intestinal Jv of smolts showed a significant increase over the parr around the peak smolt period in both years. Seawater-adapted smolts generally exhibited posterior intestinal Jv approximately double that of freshwater cohorts. A decrease over time shown for the middle intestine, together with the increased Jv in the posterior intestine preceding and after seawater entry, suggests the development of a functional regionalization during parr-smolt transformation, with the posterior intestine taking on increased importance in osmoregulation in seawater. © 1993 Kugler Publications.

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Fish Physiology and Biochemistry