We have investigated the effects of adenosine on the cardiovascular system of the Antarctic fish Pagothenia borchgrevinki. Continuous measurements of ventral and dorsal aortic blood pressures, heart rate (fh) and ventral aortic blood flow (cardiac output, q_dot) were made using standard cannulation techniques and a single-crystal Doppler flowmeter. On line measurements of arterial P(O2) were made using an oxygen electrode connected to an extracorporeal loop. Adenosine (10 nmol kg(−)(1)) and the specific A(1)-receptor agonist N(6)-cyclopentyladenosine (CPA) elicited biphasic changes in the branchial and systemic resistances. While there was an initial decrease in the branchial resistance followed by an increase, the opposite was true for the systemic response. The resistance changes were significantly attenuated by aminophylline (a P(1)-receptor antagonist) and 8-cyclopentyltheophylline (CPT; an A(1)-receptor antagonist). In addition, adenosine induced an aminophylline-sensitive decrease in the arterial P(O2). The reduction was attenuated when pre-injection arterial P(O2) was low. Adenosine and CPA also caused a marked reduction in fh, with CPA being more potent. The bradycardia was blocked by aminophylline and CPT, demonstrating an involvement of A(1) receptors in this response.

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