Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal of Experimental Biology
The juxtaposition of heart and gills in teleost fish means that the Windkessel function characteristic of the whole mammalian arterial tree has to be subserved by the extremely short ventral aorta and bulbus arteriosus. Over the functional pressure range, arteries from blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) and yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) have J-shaped pressure-volume (P-V) loops, while bulbi from the same species have r-shaped P-V loops, with a steep initial rise followed by a compliant plateau phase. The steep initial rise in pressure is due to the geometry of the lumen. The interactions between radius, pressure and tension require a large initial pressure to open the bulbar lumen for flow. The plateau is due to the unique organization of the bulbar wall. The large elastin:collagen ratio, limited amount of collagen arranged cirumferentially, lack of elastin lamellae and low hydrophobicity of the elastin itself all combine to lower stiffness, increase extensibility and allow efficient recoil. Even though the modulus of bulbus material is much lower than that of an artery, at large volumes the overall stiffness of the bulbus increases rapidly. The morphological features that give rise to the special inflation characteristics of the bulbus help to extend flow and maintain pressure during diastole.
bulbus arteriosus; P-V loop; r-shaped curve; stress; modulus; tuna; marlin; Thunnus; Makaira
Braun, M H.; Brill, Richard; Gosline, J M.; and Jones, D R., Form and function of the bulbus arteriosus in yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) and blue marlin (Makaira nigricans): static properties (2003). Journal of Experimental Biology, 206(19), 3311-3326.