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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2007 Sep;148(1):101-16. Epub 2007 Jan 16.

Application of the Na+ recirculation theory to ion coupled water transport in low- and high resistance osmoregulatory epithelia.

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Institute of Molecular Biology and Physiology, University of Copenhagen, August Krogh Building, Universitetsparken 13, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark.


The theory of Na+ recirculation for isosmotic fluid absorption follows logically from Hertz's convection-diffusion equation applied to the exit of water and solutes from the lateral intercellular space. Experimental evidence is discussed indicating Na+ recirculation based upon the following approaches: (i) An isotope tracer method in small intestine. Simultaneous measurement of water flow and ion transport in toad skin epithelium demonstrating, (ii) occasional hyposmotic absorbates, and (iii) reduced fluid absorption in the presence of serosal bumetanide. (iv) Studies of the metabolic cost of net Na+ absorption demonstrating an efficiency that is lower than the 18 Na+ per O2 consumed given by the stoichiometry of the Na+/K+-pump. Mathematical modeling predicts a significant range of observations such as isosmotic transport, hyposmotic transport, solvent drag, anomalous solvent drag, the residual hydraulic permeability in proximal tubule of AQP1(-/-) mice, the adverse relationship between hydraulic permeability and the concentration difference needed to reverse transepithelial water flow, and in a non-contradictory way the wide range of metabolic efficiencies from above to below 18 Na+/O2. Certain types of observations are poorly or not at all reproduced by the model. It is discussed that such lack of agreement between model and experiment is due to cellular regulations of ion permeabilities that are not incorporated in the modeling. Clarification of these problems requires further experimental studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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