The fish gut is responsible for numerous potentially energetically costly processes, yet, little is known about its metabolism. Here, we provide the first in vivo measurements for aerobic metabolism of the gut in a teleost fish by measuring gut blood flow, as well as arterial and portal venous oxygen content. At 10°C, gut oxygen uptake rates were 4.3±0.5 ml O2 h–1 kg–1 (~11% of whole animal oxygen uptake). Following acute warming to 15°C, gut blood flow increased ~3.4-fold and gut oxygen uptake rate increased ~3.7-fold (16.0±3.3 ml O2 h–1 kg–1), now representing ~25% of whole animal oxygen uptake. Although gut blood flow decreased following an acute stress event at 15°C, gut oxygen uptake remained unchanged due to a ~2-fold increase in oxygen extraction. The high metabolic thermal sensitivity of the gut discovered here could have important implications on the overall aerobic capacity and performance of fish and warrants further investigations.
Jeroen Brijs, Albin Gräns, Per Hjelmstedt, Erik Sandblom, Nicole van Nuland, Charlotte Berg, and Michael Axelsson