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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2016 May 15;310(10):F1035-46. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00010.2016. Epub 2016 Mar 9.

Hyperaldosteronism after decreased renal K+ excretion in KCNMB2 knockout mice.

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Department of Biomedicine, Physiology, and Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark;
Department of Biomedicine, Physiology, and Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; Aarhus Institute for Advanced Studies, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; and.
Institute of Physiology, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany.
Department of Biomedicine, Physiology, and Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark;


The kidney is the primary organ ensuring K(+) homeostasis. K(+) is secreted into the urine in the distal tubule by two mechanisms: by the renal outer medullary K(+) channel (Kir1.1) and by the Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel (KCa1.1). Here, we report a novel knockout mouse of the β2-subunit of the KCa1.1 channel (KCNMB2), which displays hyperaldosteronism after decreased renal K(+) excretion. KCNMB2(-/-) mice displayed hyperaldosteronism, normal plasma K(+) concentration, and produced dilute urine with decreased K(+) concentration. The normokalemia indicated that hyperaldosteronism did not result from primary aldosteronism. Activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system was also ruled out as renal renin mRNA expression was reduced in KCNMB2(-/-) mice. Renal K(+) excretion rates were similar in the two genotypes; however, KCNMB2(-/-) mice required elevated plasma aldosterone to achieve K(+) balance. Blockade of the mineralocorticoid receptor with eplerenone triggered mild hyperkalemia and unmasked reduced renal K(+) excretion in KCNMB2(-/-) mice. Knockout mice for the α-subunit of the KCa1.1 channel (KCNMA1(-/-) mice) have hyperaldosteronism, are hypertensive, and lack flow-induced K(+) secretion. KCNMB2(-/-) mice share the phenotypic traits of normokalemia and hyperaldosteronism with KCNMA1(-/-) mice but were normotensive and displayed intact flow-induced K(+) secretion. Despite elevated plasma aldosterone, KNCMB2(-/-) mice did not display salt-sensitive hypertension and were able to decrease plasma aldosterone on a high-Na(+) diet, although plasma aldosterone remained elevated in KCNMB2(-/-) mice. In summary, KCNMB2(-/-) mice have a reduced ability to excrete K(+) into the urine but achieve K(+) balance through an aldosterone-mediated, β2-independent mechanism. The phenotype of KCNMB2 mice was similar but milder than the phenotype of KCNMA1(-/-) mice.


KCa1.1 channel; potassium excretion; α-subunit of the KCa1.1 channel; β2-subunit

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