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The electrical potential profile of gallbladder epithelium

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In this study the relative ionic permeabilities of the cell membranes ofNecturus gallbladder epithelium have been determined by means of simultaneous measurement of transmural and transmucosal membrane potential differences (PD) and by ionic substitution experiments with sodium, potassium and chloride ions. It is shown that the mucosal membrane is permeable to sodium and to potassium ions. The baso-lateral membrane PD is only sensitive to potassium ions. In both membranes chloride conductance is negligible or absent. The ratio of the resistances of the mucosal and baso-lateral membranes,R M/RS, increases upon reducing the sodium concentration in the mucosal solution. The same ratio decreases when sodium is replaced by potassium which implies a greater potassium than sodium conductance in the mucosal membrane. The relative permeability of the shunt for potassium, sodium and chloride ions is:P K/P Na/P Cl=1.81:1.00:0.32.

From the results obtained in this study a value for theP K/P Na ratio of the mucosal membrane could be evaluated. This ratio is 2.7. From the same data the magnitude of the electromotive forces generated across the cell membranes could be calculated. The EMF's are −15 mV across the mucosal membrane and −81 mV across the baso-lateral one. Due to the presence of the low resistance shunt the transmucosal membrane PD is −53.2 mV (cell inside negative) and the transmural PD is +2.6 mV (serosal side positive). The change in potential profile brought about by the low resistance shunt favors passive entry of Na ions into the cell across the mucosal membrane. Calculations show that this passive Na influx is maximally 64% of the net Na flux estimated from fluid transport measurements. The C1-conductance of the baso-lateral membrane is too small to allow electrogenic coupling of C1 with Na transport across this membrane.

Experiments with rabbit gallbladder epithelium indicate that the membrane properties in this tissue are qualitatively similar to those ofNecturus gallbladder epithelium.

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van Os, C.H., Slegers, J.F.G. The electrical potential profile of gallbladder epithelium. J. Membrain Biol. 24, 341–363 (1975).

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  • Potential Profile
  • Mucosal Membrane
  • Chloride Conductance
  • Serosal Side
  • Sodium Conductance