Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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It’s shark week!! Let’s talk about the spiny dogfish

I am so excited it is finally Shark Week on Discovery Channel! I look forward to this week every year. In honor of Shark Week, I found a neat study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology examining the rectal gland of the spiny dogfish shark (Squalus acanthias). This gland is very important as it allows the animals to get rid of salt (sodium chloride) to maintain homeostasis. But, it takes energy to be able to move salt from inside the animal to the salty water surrounding them. What is really interesting is that the rectal gland appear to require sugar in the form of glucose, to secrete the salt. In fact, glucose is reportedly the main energy source used by nearly all cellular organisms. In this new study, researchers found that the rectal gland contains all the tools necessary to convert glycogen, the storage form of glucose, into useable glucose that can effectively regulate salt balance in these animals. That’s pretty sweet! (pun intended) 

Source:

R Kinne, KC Spokes, P Silva. Sugar uptake, metabolism, and chloride secretion in the rectal gland of the spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 319(1): R96-R105, 2020. https://doi-org.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/10.1152/ajpregu.00060.2020

Categories: Environment, Nature's Solutions, Ocean Life, Sharks

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