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Characterizing the metabolic capacity of the anoxic hagfish heart


What we did: We investigated the metabolic response of the hagfish heart to anoxia using calorimetry to measure metabolic rate, and metabolite analyses to measure fuel use.

What we found: The hagfish heart’s metabolic rate remained at routine levels over 16+ hours of anoxia exposure despite depleting its predicted fuel source—glycogen—after ~8 hours.

What this means: The hagfish heart is an exceptionally tolerant organ and appears to rely on an as-yet-unknown fuel source to survive long-term anoxia exposure. This result could have only been revealed through a combination of calorimetry and metabolite analyses.