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J Gen Physiol. 1999 Oct;114(4):561-74.

Insulin stimulates transepithelial sodium transport by activation of a protein phosphatase that increases Na-K ATPase activity in endometrial epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of insulin and insulin-like growth factor I on transepithelial Na(+) transport across porcine glandular endometrial epithelial cells grown in primary culture. Insulin and insulin-like growth factor I acutely stimulated Na(+) transport two- to threefold by increasing Na(+)-K(+) ATPase transport activity and basolateral membrane K(+) conductance without increasing the apical membrane amiloride-sensitive Na(+) conductance. Long-term exposure to insulin for 4 d resulted in enhanced Na(+) absorption with a further increase in Na(+)-K(+) ATPase transport activity and an increase in apical membrane amiloride-sensitive Na(+) conductance. The effect of insulin on the Na(+)-K(+) ATPase was the result of an increase in V(max) for extracellular K(+) and intracellular Na(+), and an increase in affinity of the pump for Na(+). Immunohistochemical localization along with Western blot analysis of cultured porcine endometrial epithelial cells revealed the presence of alpha-1 and alpha-2 isoforms, but not the alpha-3 isoform of Na(+)-K(+) ATPase, which did not change in the presence of insulin. Insulin-stimulated Na(+) transport was inhibited by hydroxy-2-naphthalenylmethylphosphonic acid tris-acetoxymethyl ester [HNMPA-(AM)(3)], a specific inhibitor of insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity, suggesting that the regulation of Na(+) transport by insulin involves receptor autophosphorylation. Pretreatment with wortmannin, a specific inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase as well as okadaic acid and calyculin A, inhibitors of protein phosphatase activity, also blocked the insulin-stimulated increase in short circuit and pump currents, suggesting that activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and subsequent stimulation of a protein phosphatase mediates the action of insulin on Na(+)-K(+) ATPase activation.

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