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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2012 Mar;44(3):431-4. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2011.12.002. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Frog skin epithelium: electrolyte transport and chytridiomycosis.

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Discipline of Physiology, Sydney Medical School and Bosch Institute, The University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia.


One unique physiological characteristic of frogs is that their main route for intake of water is across the skin. In these animals, the skin acts in concert with the kidney and urinary bladder to maintain electrolyte homeostasis. Water absorption across the skin is driven by the osmotic gradient that develops as a consequence of solute transport. Our recent study demonstrated that chytridiomycosis, an infection of amphibian skin by the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, inhibits epithelial Na(+) channels, attenuating Na(+) absorption through the skin. In frogs that become severely affected by this fungus, systemic depletion of Na(+), K(+) and Cl(-) is thought to cause deterioration of cardiac electrical function, leading to cardiac arrest. Here we review the ion transport mechanisms of frog skin, and discuss the effect of chytridiomycosis on these mechanisms.

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