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Am J Physiol. 1985 May;248(5 Pt 2):F638-49.

Stimulation of distal potassium secretion by low lumen chloride in the presence of barium.


Potassium secretion into the renal distal tubule is increased when chloride in the tubule fluid is replaced by another anion. The present experiments were done to determine whether this increment in transported potassium traverses a conductive pathway from cell to lumen. Transport rates of potassium, sodium, chloride, and fluid by the renal distal tubule of rats were examined in vivo by continuous microperfusion. The effects of substituting gluconate for chloride in the presence and absence of 5 mM barium in the perfusion fluid were determined. When gluconate replaced chloride in the perfusion solutions, potassium secretion increased (by 44%) without a significant change in transepithelial voltage. Barium in the lumen increased the magnitude of the lumen-negative transepithelial voltage (by 30%) and reduced potassium secretion (by 56%) by inhibiting conductive potassium movement. Barium also decreased both sodium (by 51%) and chloride (by 37%) absorption. Barium did not reduce the stimulation of potassium secretion caused by reducing lumen chloride concentration. Potassium secretion increased (by 77%) when lumen chloride was reduced in the presence of 5 mM barium. We interpret these results by postulating that a cotransport mechanism linking potassium and chloride is present in the luminal membrane of distal tubule cells, that this mechanism operates in parallel with a conductive transport pathway for potassium, and that the K-Cl cotransport mechanism is not inhibited by barium.

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