Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 154, Issue 6, pp 561–571 | Cite as

Effect of anisotonic media on cell volume and electrolyte fluxes in slices of the dogfish (Squalus acanthias) rectal gland

  • Arnost Kleinzeller
  • Jonathan Goldstein


Osmotic responses of slices of dogfish rectal gland to hypotonic (urea-free) and hypertonic media were studied. Transfer of tissue from isotonic (890 mosM) to hypotonic (550 mosM) saline produced an osmotic swelling associated with a slow net uptake of cell K+ (and Cl) and a slow, two-component efflux of urea. Media made hypertonic (1180 mosM) by addition of urea or mannitol produced osmotic shrinkage with a net loss of KCl. The cell osmotic responses in hypotonic media were lower than predicted for an ideal osmometer. No volume regulatory responses were seen subsequent to the initial osmotic effects. The cation influx in hypotonic media lacked specificity: in the presence of 0.5 mM ouabain or in K+-free media a net influx of Na+ was found. At steady state, the cell membrane potential evaluated from the Nernst potentials of K+ and triphenylmethyl phosphonium+, was independent of medium tonicity, suggesting the membrane potential as a determinant in the cellular osmotic response. Zero-time86Rb+ fluxes were measured:86Rb+ influx was not affected by hypotonicity, implying an unchanged operation of the Na+−K+-ATPase. On the other hand,86Rb+ efflux was significantly reduced at hypotonicity; this effect was transient, the efflux returning to the control value once the new steady state of cell volume had been reached. A controlled efflux system is therefore involved in the cell osmotic response. The absence of the volume regulatory phenomenon suggests that the cells are not equipped with a volume-sensing mechanism.


Ouabain Phosphonium Cell Membrane Potential Rectal Gland Hypotonic Medium 

Abbreviations and symbols


dry weight


extracellular (polyethylene glycol) space


Nernst potential


H2Oi tissue water, extra- and intracellular


triphenyl methyl phosphonium salt


wet weight


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnost Kleinzeller
    • 1
  • Jonathan Goldstein
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia
  2. 2.Brown University Medical SchoolProvidence
  3. 3.Mount Desert Island Biological LaboratorySalsbury CoveUSA

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