Salt gland blood flow in the hatchling green turtle, Chelonia mydas

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Microsphere and morphometric techniques were used to investigate any circulatory changes that accompany secretion by the salt glands of hatchling Chelonia mydas. Salt glands were activated by a salt load of 27.0 mmol NaCl kg body mass (BM)-1, resulting in a mean sodium secretion rate of 4.14 ± 0.11 mmol Na kg BM-1 h-1 for a single gland. Microsphern entrapment was approximately 160-180 times greater in the active salt gland than the inactive gland, inferring a similar change in blood flow through salt gland capillaries. The concentration of microspheres trapped in the salt gland was significantly correlated with the rate of tear production (ml kg BM-1 h-1) and the total rate of sodium secretion (mmol Na kg BM-1 h-1 but not with tear sodium concentration (mmol Na 1-1). Adrenaline (500 μg kg BM-1) inhibited tear production within 2 min and reduced microsphere entrapment by approximately 95% compared with active glands. The volume of filled blood vessels increased from 0.03 ± 0.01% of secretory lobe volume in inactive salt gland sections to 0.70 ± 0.11% in active gland sections. The results demonstrate that caspillary blood flow in the salt gland of C. mydas can regulate the activity of the gland as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-580
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology - B Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood flow
  • Chelonian
  • Microsphere
  • Osmoregulation
  • Salt glands

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