Volume regulation by Amphiuma red blood cells. The membrane potential and its implication regarding the nature of the ion-flux pathways

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Abstract

After osmotic perturbation, the red blood cells of Amphiuma exhibited a volume-regulatory response that returned cell volume back to or toward control values. After osmotic swelling, cell-volume regulation (regulatory volume decrease; RVD) resulted from net cellular loss of K, Cl, and osmotically obliged H2O. In contrast, the volume-regulatory response to osmotic shrinkage (regulatory volume increase; RVI) was characterized by net cellular uptake of Na, Cl, and H2O. The net K and Na fluxes characteristic of RVD and RVI are increased by 1-2 orders of magnitude above those observed in studies of volume-static control cells. The cell membrane potential of volume-regulating and volume-static cells was measured by impalement with glass microelectrodes. The information gained from the electrical and ion-flux studies led to the conclusion that the ion fluxes responsible for cell-volume regulation proceed via electrically silent pathways. Furthermore, it was observed that Na fluxes during RVI were profoundly sensitive to medium [HCO3] and that during RVI the medium becomes more acid, whereas alkaline shifts in the suspension medium accompany RVD. The experimental observations are explained by a model featuring obligatorily coupled alkali metal-H and Cl-HCO3 exchangers. The anion- and cation-exchange pathways are separate and distinct yet functionally coupled via the net flux of H. As a result of the operation of such pathways, net alkali metal, Cl, and H2O fluxes proceed in the same direction, whereas H and HCO3 fluxes are cyclic. Data also are presented that suggest that the ion-flux pathways responsible for cell-volume regulation are not activated by changes in cell volume per se but by some event associated with osmotic perturbation, such as changes in intracellular pH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-708
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Volume76
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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