In search for a rapid and reliable method to identify and quantitatively determine cell membrane resistances and paracellular shunt resistances in epithelia we have developed appropriate techniques to measure transepithelial and intracellular potential transients in response to transepithelially applied square wave constant current pulses. Model considerations indicate that in a unilayered, homogeneous epithelium with open lateral spaces the transient potential response across each cell membrane should obey a single exponential function in case the tight junction resistance is high, as in a tight epithelium, whereas in a leaky epithelium it should consist of a superposition of two exponentials with equal sign at the membrane with the higher intrinsic time constant and of two exponentials of different sign (overshoot with recline) at the membrane with the lower intrinsic time constant. The latter predictions were experimentally verified in a study on Necturus gallbladder epithelium and equivalent circuit parameters for the cell membrane resistances and capacitances as well as for the resistance of the shunt path were calculated from the data by curve fitting procedures. The resistances of the apical and basal cell membrane and of the shunt path averaged 1220, 201 and 91 Ω cm2 respectively while the apical and basal cell membrane capacitances were 8.0 and 26.3 μF/cm2 respectively. The fact that the resistance values are 4–15 times lower than estimates derived previously from 2D-cable analysis relates to a better preservation of the transport function under the present incubation conditions as verified by a new series of cable analysis data. The capacitances agree well with estimates of the surface amplification of the cell membranes from electronmicrographs, thus confirming the validity of the interpretation of the observed voltage transients.
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Suzuki, K., Kottra, G., Kampmann, L. et al. Square wave pulse analysis of cellular and paracellular conductance pathways in necturus gallbladder epithelium. Pflugers Arch. 394, 302–312 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00583694
- Gallbladder epithelium
- Electrical impedance
- Cell membrane conductance
- Cell membrane capacitance
- Parcellular shunt conductance