Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 405, Supplement 1, pp S121–S126 | Cite as

How big is the electrochemical potential difference of Na+ across rat renal proximal tubular cell membranes in vivo?

  • K. Yoshitomi
  • E. Frömter
Na+/H+ Exchange


The intracellular Na+ concentration of surface loops of proximal tubules was measured with doublebarrelled Na+-sensitive microelectrodes in micropuncture experiments on rat kidneys in situ and in vivo. With the help of a fast recording system, it was possible to select only valid measurements, by discarding all records in which the Na+ concentration rose after the impalement presumably as a result of sodium ion inflow via puncture leaks. Under free-flow conditions cell Na+ activity averaged 13.1, S.D.±2.1 mmol/l which, assuming an activity coefficient of 0.75, corresponds to a Na+ concentration of 17.5 mmol/l. The simultaneously recorded cell membrane potential was −73.5 mV in agreement with best estimates derived previously. The comparison of cell sodium activity and cell pH (Yoshitomi and Frömter [17]) demonstrates that the electrochemical potential difference of Na+ is greater than that of H+, as required for the operation of Na+/H+ counter transport in the brushborder membrane but that bicarbonate efflux via the sodium bicarbonate contransport system at the peritubular cell membrane requires a HCO 3 to Na+ stoichiometry of greater than 2.0 or the involvement of other ions at least under free-flow conditions.

Key words

Rat proximal tubule Intracellular Na+ concentration Na+/H+ counter transport Na+(HCO3)2 cotransport 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Yoshitomi
    • 1
  • E. Frömter
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für BiophysikFrankfurt/Main 70
  2. 2.Zentrum der PhysiologieKlinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-UniversitätFrankfurt/Main 70Federal Republic of Germany

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