The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 121, Issue 1, pp 79–90 | Cite as

Na+ channel activity in cultured renal (A6) epithelium: Regulation by solution osmolarity

  • N. K. Wills
  • L. P. Millinoff
  • W. E. Crowe


Solution osmolarity is known to affect Na+ transport rates across tight epithelia but this variable has been relatively ignored in studies of cultured renal epithelia. Using electrophysiological methods to study A6 epithelial monolayers, we observed a marked effect of solution tonicity on amiloride-sensitive Na+ currents (Isc).Isc for tissues bathed in symmetrical hyposmotic (170 mOsm), isosmotic (200 mOsm), and hyperosmotic (230 or 290 mOsm) NaCl Ringer's solutions averaged 25±2, 9±2, 3±0.4, and 0.6±0.5 μA/cm2, respectively. Similar results were obtained following changes in the serosal tonicity; mucosal changes did not significantly affectIsc. The changes inIsc were slow and reached steady-state within 30 min. Current fluctuation analysis measurements indicated that single-channel currents and Na+ channel blocker kinetics were similar for isosmotic and hyposmotic conditions. However, the number of conducting Na+ channels was approximately threefold higher for tissues bathed in hyposmotic solutions. No channel activity was detected during hyperosmotic conditions. The results suggest that Na+ channels in A6 epithelia are highly sensitive to relatively small changes in serosal solution tonicity. Consequently, osmotic effects may partly account for the large variability in Na+ transport rates for A6 epithelia reported in the literature.

Key Words

A6 epithelium Na+ channel current fluctuation analysis CDPC amiloride osmolarity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. K. Wills
    • 1
  • L. P. Millinoff
    • 1
  • W. E. Crowe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalveston

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