In a comparative study, we analysed the effects of adenosine on the energetics, protein synthesis and K(+)homeostasis of hepatocytes from the anoxia-tolerant goldfish Carassius auratus and the anoxia-intolerant trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. The rate of oxygen consumption did not respond immediately to the addition of adenosine to the cells from either species, but showed a significant decrease in trout hepatocytes after 30 min. The anaerobic rate of lactate formation was not significantly affected by adenosine in goldfish hepatocytes, but was increased in trout cells. We also studied the effects of adenosine on the two most prominent ATP consumers in these cells, protein synthesis and Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase activity. Under aerobic conditions, adenosine inhibited protein synthesis of hepatocytes from goldfish by 51% and of hepatocytes from trout by 32%. During anoxia, the rate of protein synthesis decreased by approximately 50% in goldfish hepatocytes and by 90% in trout hepatocytes, and this decrease was not altered by the presence of adenosine. Adenosine inhibited normoxic Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase activity and K(+)efflux by 20–35% in the cells of both species. An investigation into the mechanism underlying the inhibition of protein synthesis by adenosine indicated that, in the goldfish cells, adenosine acts via a membrane receptor-mediated pathway, i.e. the effect of adenosine was abolished by applying the A1 receptor antagonist 8-phenyltheophylline. In the trout, however, the uptake of adenosine into hepatocytes seems to be required for an effect on protein synthesis. [Ca(2+)](i) does not seem to be involved in the inhibition of protein synthesis by adenosine.
The oxygen-dependence of cellular energetics was investigated in hepatocytes from goldfish Carassius auratus (anoxia-tolerant) and rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (anoxia-intolerant). In goldfish hepatocytes, an approximately 50 % reduction in the rate of oxygen consumption was observed in response to both acute and prolonged hypoxia, the latter treatment shifting the threshold for this reduction to a higher oxygen level. A concomitant increase in the rate of lactate production did not compensate for the decreased aerobic ATP supply, resulting in an overall metabolic depression of 26 % during acute hypoxia and of 42 % during prolonged hypoxia. Trout hepatocytes showed a similar suppression of cellular respiration after prolonged hypoxia but were unresponsive to acute hypoxia. Similarly, the rate of lactate production was unaltered during acute hypoxia but was increased during prolonged hypoxia, metabolic depression amounting to 7 % during acute hypoxia and 30 % during prolonged hypoxia. In both species, the affinity of hepatocytes for oxygen decreased during hypoxia, but this alteration was not sufficient in absolute terms to account for the observed decrease in aerobic ATP supply. Protein synthesis was suppressed in both cell types under hypoxia, whereas Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase activity decreased in trout but not in goldfish hepatocytes, emphasising the importance of membrane function in these cells during conditions of limited energy supply.