Volume regulation by flounder red blood cells in anisotonic media

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The nucleated high K, low Na red blood cells of the winter flounder demonstrated a volume regulatory response subsequent to osmotic swelling or shrinkage. During volume regulation the net water flow was secondary to net inorganic cation flux. Volume regulation after osmotic swelling is referred to as regulatory volume decrease (RVD) and was characterized by net K and water loss. Since the electrochemical gradient for K is directed out of the cell there is no need to invoke active processes to explain RVD. When osmotically shrunken, the flounder erythrocyte demonstrated a regulatory volume increase (RVI) back toward control cell volume. The water movements characteristic of RVI were a consequence of net cellular NaCl and KCl uptake with Na accounting for 75% of the increase in intracellular cation content. Since the Na electrochemical gradient is directed into the cell, net Na uptake was the result of Na flux via dissipative pathways. The addition of 10-4 M ouabain to suspensions of flounder erythrocytes was without effect upon net water movements during volume regulation. The presence of ouabain did however lead to a decreased ratio of intracellular K:Na. Analysis of net Na and K fluxes in the presence and absence of ouabain led to the conclusion that Na and K fluxes via both conservative and dissipative pathways are increased in response to osmotic swelling or shrinkage. In addition, the Na and K flux rate through both pump and leak pathways decreased in a parallel fashion as cell volume was regulated. Taken as a whole, the Na and K movements through the flounder erythrocyte membrane demonstrated a functional dependence during volume regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-552
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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