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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1992;70 Suppl:S260-2.

Role of Na/K/Cl cotransport in astrocytes.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


The kinetic characterization of the Na/K/Cl cotransport of cultured astrocytes and evidence for its involvement in volume regulation and K+ net uptake during K+ clearance are reviewed. Emphasis is put on experimental evidence for a proposed sodium cycle in astrocytes; this cycle involves a Na(+)-K+ ATPase that is stimulated by both a high external K+ and intracellular Na+. Elevated external K+ also stimulates the Na/K/Cl carrier, transporting these ions inward. As a result Na+ is cycled across the membrane, carried inward by the Na/K/Cl carrier, and returned by the Na(+)-K+ ATPase. Both functionally coupled mechanisms lead to intracellular KCl accumulation and inward movements of water to compensate for increased osmolarity. The combined cycle is expected to play a major role in the regulation of physiological K+ levels in the brain.

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