The Influence of Hypoxia On the Cardiac Transcriptomes of Two Estuarine Species - C. variegatus and F. grandis

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Ocean Science and Engineering


Increased nutrient loading has led to eutrophication of coastal shelf waters which has resulted in increased prevalence of persistent hypoxic zones – areas in which the dissolved oxygen content of the water drops below 2 mg/L. The northern Gulf of Mexico, fed primarily by the Mississippi River watershed, undergoes annual establishment of one of the largest hypoxic zones in the world. Exposure to hypoxia can induce physiological impacts in fish cardiac systems that include bradycardia, changes in stroke volume, and altered cardiovascular vessel development. While these impacts have been addressed at the functional level, there is little information regarding the molecular basis for these changes. This study used transcriptomic analysis techniques to interrogate the effects of hypoxia exposure on the developing cardiovascular system in newly hatched larvae of two estuarine species that occupy the same ecological niche – the sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus) and the Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis). Results suggest that while differential gene expression is largely distinct between the two species, downstream impacts on pathways and functional responses such as reduced cardiac hypertrophy, modulation of blood pressure, and increased incidence of apoptosis appear to be conserved. Further, differences in the magnitude of these conserved responses may suggest that the length of embryonic development could impart a level of resiliency to hypoxic perturbation in early life stage fish.

Publication Title

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part D: Genomics and Proteomics



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