Rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) were electrically stimulated to exhausting activity and the changes in cardiac output and blood flow distribution to gills and systemic tissues resulting from the developing severe lactacidosis were repeatedly measured by the microsphere method (15 μm). Determination of cardiac output by application of the Fick principle resulted in values not significantly different from cardiac output measured by the indicator dilution technique, suggesting that cutaneous respiration, oxygen consumption, and arterio-venous shunting were insignificant under these conditions.
Following muscular activity, cardiac output was elevated by up to 60%. In the gills, the blood flow distribution in the gill arches showed a consistent pattern, even during lactacidosis, with a higher perfusion in gill arches II and III, and in the middle sections of individual gills. Blood flow to white and red muscle was increased much more than cardiac output (+230 and +490%, respectively) such that blood flow to other tissues was actually reduced.
We conclude that the elimination of lactate from muscle cells during the recovery period from strenuous exercise is delayed, not as a result of an impaired post-exercise muscle blood flow, but probably as a result of a high diffusion resistance in the cell membrane.