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Biophys J. 2001 Apr;80(4):1783-90.

Cell volume kinetics of adherent epithelial cells measured by laser scanning reflection microscopy: determination of water permeability changes of renal principal cells.

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  • 1Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie, D-10315 Berlin, Germany. maric@fmp-berlin.de


The water channel aquaporin-2 (AQP2), a key component of the antidiuretic machinery in the kidney, is rapidly regulated by the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin. The hormone exerts its action by inducing a translocation of AQP2 from intracellular vesicles to the cell membrane. This step requires the elevation of intracellular cyclic AMP. We describe here a new method, laser scanning reflection microscopy (LSRM), suitable for determining cellular osmotic water permeability coefficient changes in primary cultured inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) cells. The recording of vertical-reflection-mode x-z-scan section areas of unstained, living IMCD cells proved useful and valid for the investigation of osmotic water permeability changes. The time-dependent increases of reflection-mode x-z-scan section areas of swelling cells were fitted to a single-exponential equation. The analysis of the time constants of these processes indicates a twofold increase in osmotic water permeability of IMCD cells after treatment of the cells both with forskolin, a cyclic AMP-elevating agent, and with Clostridium difficile toxin B, an inhibitor of Rho proteins that leads to depolymerization of F-actin-containing stress fibers. This indicates that both agents lead to the functional insertion of AQP2 into the cell membrane. Thus, we have established a new functional assay for the study of the regulation of the water permeability at the cellular level.

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