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Semin Nephrol. 2006 Sep;26(5):334-44.

Na+/H+ exchangers in renal regulation of acid-base balance.

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Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


The kidney plays key roles in extracellular fluid pH homeostasis by reclaiming bicarbonate (HCO(3)(-)) filtered at the glomerulus and generating the consumed HCO(3)(-) by secreting protons (H(+)) into the urine (renal acidification). Sodium-proton exchangers (NHEs) are ubiquitous transmembrane proteins mediating the countertransport of Na(+) and H(+) across lipid bilayers. In mammals, NHEs participate in the regulation of cell pH, volume, and intracellular sodium concentration, as well as in transepithelial ion transport. Five of the 10 isoforms (NHE1-4 and NHE8) are expressed at the plasma membrane of renal epithelial cells. The best-studied isoform for acid-base homeostasis is NHE3, which mediates both HCO(3)(-) absorption and H(+) excretion in the renal tubule. This article reviews some important aspects of NHEs in the kidney, with special emphasis on the role of renal NHE3 in the maintenance of acid-base balance.

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