Aquatic and terrestrial crustaceans are dependent on both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism for energy production during exercise. Anaerobic energy production is marked by an accumulation of lactate in both muscle tissue and haemolymph, but the metabolic fate of lactate is not clear. Lactate recycling via gluconeogenesis and the potential role of carbonic anhydrase (CA) in supplying bicarbonate for the carboxylation of pyruvate were investigated in three species of decapod crustaceans: Callinectes sapidus (aquatic), Cardisoma guanhumi (semi-terrestrial) and Gecarcinus lateralis (terrestrial). CA activity was found in mitochondria and cytoplasmic fractions of gill, hepatopancreas and muscle of all three species. Significant activities of key enzymes of gluconeogenesis (e.g. pyruvate carboxylase, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and fructose bisphosphatase), however, could not be detected. Exercise to exhaustion produced a species-specific pattern of accumulation and clearance of lactate in tissue and haemolymph, indicating a differential degree of reliance on anaerobic energy production. Treatment with acetazolamide, a CA inhibitor, did not significantly alter the pattern of lactate dynamics in animals given repeated bouts of exhaustive exercise interspersed with periods of recovery. Injection of [U-14C]lactate resulted in the appearance of label in both muscle glycogen and excreted carbon dioxide, suggesting multiple metabolic fates for lactate. Lactate turnover rates for G. lateralis were similar to those reported for fish. In these animals, gluconeogenesis possibly proceeds via the reversal of pyruvate kinase, or via the typical Cori cycle but so slowly that the uncatalysed supply of bicarbonate is sufficient to keep pace with the low activities of pyruvate carboxylase and the subsequent low rates of pyruvate carboxylation.

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