First Advisor

Stanley S. Hillman

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology




Blood volume, Dehydration (Physiology), Anura -- Physiology, Amphibians -- Physiology



Physical Description

1 online resource (108 p.)


The importance of hypovolemia in dehydrational death was assessed in two anuran species. Xenopus laeyis, a species which experiences a significant reduction in circulating plasma volume with dehydration, was used to evaluate the role of sympathetic reflex compensation in hypovolemia. Adrenergic blockade with propranolol or phenoxybenzamine produced no significant reduction in dehydration tolerance in this species, although β-blockade with propranolol appeared to have a minor effect. The role of hypovolemic shock in the terminal circulatory collapse that precedes death in dehydrating anurans was investigated in the toad, Bufo marinus. The activity of lysosomal proteinases (cathepsins) was used as an indicator of the shock state. An assay was developed for the determination of cathepsin activity in toad plasma and was used to demonstrate the presence of proteinases similar in pH dependence to mammalian cathepsins Bl and D. Plasma cathepsin D-type activity increased with dehydration in toads but was not significantly different from the activity in controls or in toads subjected to splanchnic artery occlusion. Toads appear to maintain plasma volume to 20% water loss at the expense of other extracellular fluids. These results do not support the hypothesis that hypovolemia is a direct cause of dehydrational death in anurans.


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