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Open Access Research article

The dynamics of venous return and response to hypervolemia in the toad, Bufo marinus (L.)

Erin E Killorn and Daniel P Toews*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia BOP 1X0, Canada

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BMC Physiology 2001, 1:13  doi:10.1186/1472-6793-1-13

Published: 10 October 2001



Venous return from the posterior region of amphibians travels by either two renal portal veins to the kidney or a central abdominal vein that drains into the hepatic portal system. The relative proportions of blood flow in these vessels has never been measured nor has a modification of flow been determined when venous return increases by changes in blood volume during hypervolemia or during increased volume input from the posterior lymph hearts.


Venous return from the posterior region of Bufo marinus was measured under resting conditions and in response to a systemic hypervolemia. Doppler flow probes were positioned on the renal portal and ventral abdominal veins, and flow was recorded as injections of artificial plasma equaling 100% of the animal's plasma volume were administered through the sciatic artery. Resting flow was found to be 5.54 ± 2.03 ml min-1 kg-1 in the paired renal portal veins, and 7.31 ± 0.89 ml min-1 kg-1 in the ventral abdominal vein. While renal portal flow was found to increase by a factor of 2.4 times during the first 10 min of hypervolemia, ventral abdominal flow only increased by a factor of 1.3.


Our results quantify the contribution to circulation from posterior venous return in the toad Bufo marinus. A preferential movement of excess fluid through the renal portal pathway was also demonstrated, supporting the possibility of water elimination via the renal portal circulation, especially during periods of high water influx into the animals.