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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Dec 30;1618(2):95-105.

Rapid regulation of NaCl secretion by estuarine teleost fish: coping strategies for short-duration freshwater exposures.

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Department of Biology, St. Francis Xavier University, P.O. Box 5000, Antigonish, Nova Scotia Canada, B2G 2W5.


This review summarizes the mechanism of Cl(-) active secretion and its regulation in estuarine teleost fish. Small estuarine fish such as the killifish, Fundulus heteroclitus, forage in shallow water following advancing tides and are exposed regularly to very dilute microenvironments. Using the killifish opercular epithelium and related teleost membranes containing mitochondria-rich cells, the regulation includes a reduction of active Cl(-) secretion and passive diffusive ion loss in a three-stage process spanning approximately 30 min. There is a combination of sympathetic neural reflex mediated by alpha(2)-adrenoceptors operating via intracellular inositol tris phosphate and intracellular Ca(2+) and a cellular hypotonic shock response, followed by covering over of ion-secreting cells by pavement cells. This effectively minimizes salt loss in dilute media. The upregulation of salt secretion on return to full strength seawater may be via hormones (arginine vasotocin and urotensin I) and neurotransmitter (vasoactive intestinal polypeptide) in combination with hypertonic shock. A hypothetical model includes involvement of protein kinase A and C and protein phosphatases 1 and 2A in regulation of the NKCC1 cotransporter on the basolateral side and protein kinase A regulation of the CFTR-like apical anion channel.

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