Elastic arteries in invertebrates: mechanics of the octopus aorta

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Science  14 Aug 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4509, pp. 759-761
DOI: 10.1126/science.7256277


The aorta of the octopus, Octopus dofleini, is a highly distensible, elastic tube. The circumferential elastic modulus increases with inflation in the physiological range from abut 10(4) to 10(5) newtons per square meter. Rubber-like fibers have been isolated, apparently for the first time, from the aorta of an invertebrate. These fibers have an elastic modulus, like elastin, of about 4 x 10(5) newtons per square meter and are present in sufficient quantity to account for the elastic properties of the intact vessel under physiological conditions. Thus the circulatory system of an invertebrate animal provides an "elastic reservoir" (much like that of the vertebrate system), which increases the efficiency of the circulation.