, Volume 436, Issue 2, pp 227-232

Hypertonic cell shrinkage reduces the K+ conductance of rat colonic crypts

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 It has previously been shown in studies of a renal epithelial cell line that nonselective cation (NSC) channels are activated by exposure to hypertonic solution. We have also found such channels in excised patches of colonic crypt cells. They require high Ca2+ activities on the cytosolic side and a low ATP concentration for their activation and have not been recorded from cell-attached patches of colonic crypts. We examine here whether this type of channel is activated by hypertonic cell shrinkage. Bath osmolality was increased by addition of 25, 50 or 100 mmol/l mannitol. Cell-attached and whole-cell patch recordings were obtained from rat base and mid-crypt cells. In whole-cell recordings we found that addition of 50 or 100 mmol/l mannitol depolarized these cells significantly from –78±2.0 to –66±3.8 mV (n=22) and from –78±1.3 to –56±2.6 mV (n=61), respectively, and reduced the whole-cell conductance from 20±8.0 to 14±6.6 nS (n=7) and from 20±3.0 to 9.8±1.6 nS (n=19), respectively. In cell-attached patches K+ channels with a single-channel conductance of ≈16 pS were found in most recordings. The activity of these channels (N×P o, N=number, P o=open channel probability) was reduced from 2.08±0.37 to 0.98±0.23 (n=15) by the addition of 50 mmol/l mannitol and from 1.75±0.26 to 0.77±0.20 (n=12) by 100 mmol/l mannitol. No NSC channel activity was apparent in any of these recordings. Previously we have shown that the 16-pS K+ channel is controlled by cytosolic Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i). Therefore we measured [Ca2+]i by the fura-2 method and found that hypertonic solution reduced [Ca2+]i significantly (n=16). These data indicate that exposure of rat colonic crypts to hypertonic solutions does not activate NSC channels; [Ca2+]i falls in hypertonic solution leading to a reduction in the value of K+ channel N×Po, a reduced whole-cell conductance and depolarization of mid-crypt cells. These processes probably assist volume regulation inasmuch as they reduce KCl losses from the cell.

Received: 21 July 1997 / Received after revision: 24 November 1997 / Accepted: 15 December 1997