Splenic respiratory compensation and blood volume in the newt



In the newt Triturus cristatus carnifex, reversible increase in size of the spleen is linked to the respiratory state of the animal: when the newt is exposed to the air, and thus well oxygenated, the spleen hoards erythrocytes; when immersed in still water, in an hypoxic state, the spleen releases erythrocytes into the bloodstream. In chlorobutanol-anaesthetized specimens exposed to the air, the maximum size reached by the spleen diminishes with a rise in temperature up to the disappearance of all congestion at 33°C. The blood volume of newts kept in humid air at 6°C and 18°C after anaesthesia varies from about 6–9 ml per 100 g of body weight, while the red blood cell count and haematocrit value remain stable. In anaesthetized specimens kept in still water at the same temperatures the blood volume is stable, at about 7 ml per 100 g, but the red cell count and haematocrit are notably higher. At 33°C, a critical temperature for the newts, the specimens in still water succumb while those in air present the same blood volume as at 18°C, but have a higher erythrocyte count and haematocrit value.