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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2000 Apr;278(4):F530-9.

Localization of epithelial sodium channel and aquaporin-2 in rabbit kidney cortex.

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  • 1Institute of Anatomy, University of Zurich, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


The amiloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) and the vasopressin-dependent water channel aquaporin-2 (AQP2) mediate mineralocorticoid-regulated sodium- and vasopressin-regulated water reabsorption, respectively. Distributions of ENaC and AQP2 have been shown by immunohistochemistry in rats. Functional data from rabbits suggest a different distribution pattern of these channels than in rats. We studied, by immunohistochemistry in the rabbit kidney cortex, the distributions of ENaC and AQP2, in conjunction with marker proteins for distal segments. In rabbit cortex ENaC is restricted to the connecting tubule (CNT) cells and cortical collecting duct (CCD) cells. The intracellular distribution of ENaC shifts from the apical membrane in the most upstream CNT cells to a cytoplasmic location further downstream in the CNT and in the CCD cells. AQP2 is detected in the CCD cells exclusively. The anatomic subdivisions in the rabbit distal nephron coincide exactly with distributions of apical transport systems. The differences between rabbits and rats in the distribution patterns of ENaC and AQP2 may explain functional differences in renal salt and water handling between these species.

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