ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-150303-3
Nitrogenous Waste Handling by Larval Zebrafish Danio rerio in Alkaline Water *
Kumai, Y., Harris, J., Al-Rewashdy, H., Kwong, R.W., Perry, S.F.
Date: 2015
Source: Physiological and biochemical zoology : PBZ   88: 137-145 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Perry, Steve F.
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Acclimatization/physiology
  • Ammonia/metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cation Transport Proteins/metabolism*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Larva/metabolism
  • Membrane Transport Proteins/metabolism
  • Methylamines/metabolism
  • Nitrogen/metabolism
  • Transcriptome
  • Urea/metabolism*
  • Zebrafish/growth & development
  • Zebrafish/metabolism*
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism*
PubMed: 25730269 Full text @ Physiol. Biochem. Zool.
Abstract Although adult fish excrete their nitrogenous waste primarily as ammonia, larval fish may excrete a higher proportion as urea, an evolutionary strategy that lessens nitrogenous waste toxicity during early development. Previous studies firmly established that ammonia excretion is inhibited in adult fish acutely exposed to alkaline water. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that total nitrogen excretion is maintained in larval zebrafish raised in alkaline water (pH < 10.0) as a result of compensatory adjustments to urea and/or ammonia transport pathways. Raising zebrafish in alkaline water from 0 to 4 d postfertilization (dpf) reduced ammonia excretion at 4 dpf, whereas urea excretion was elevated by 141%. The increase in urea excretion at 4 dpf served to maintain total nitrogen excretion constant, despite the persistent inhibition of ammonia excretion. Whole body ammonia and urea contents were not significantly altered by exposure to alkaline water. Protein and mRNA expression of Rhcg1, an apically expressed ammonia-conducting channel, were significantly elevated after 4-d exposure to alkaline water, whereas the mRNA expression of Rhag, Rhbg, and urea transporter were unaffected. The acute exposure to alkaline water of 4-dpf larvae reared in control water caused a rapid inhibition of ammonia excretion that had partially recovered within 6 h of continued exposure. The partial recovery of ammonia excretion despite continued exposure to alkaline water suggested an increased ammonia excretion capacity. In agreement with an increased capacity to excrete ammonia, the transfer of larvae back to the control (normal pH) water was accompanied by increased rates of ammonia excretion. Urea excretion was not stimulated during 6-h exposure to alkaline water. Following both chronic and acute exposure to alkaline water, the rate of uptake of methylamine (an ammonia analog) was significantly elevated, consistent with increased protein expression of the apical ammonia channel, Rhcg1. Taken together, this study demonstrates a complex interplay between ammonia and urea excretion in larval zebrafish exposed to alkaline water.