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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Sep 17;93(19):10206-11.

Immunolocalization of ion transport proteins in human autosomal dominant polycystic kidney epithelial cells.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The kidneys of patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease become massively enlarged due to the progressive expansion of myriad fluid-filled cysts. The epithelial cells that line the cyst walls are responsible for secreting the cyst fluid, but the mechanism through which this secretion occurs is not well established. Recent studies suggest that renal cyst epithelial cells actively secrete Cl across their apical membranes, which in turn drives the transepithelial movement of Na and water. The characteristics of this secretory flux suggest that it is dependent upon the participation of an apical cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR)-like Cl channel and basolateral Na,K-ATPase. To test this hypothesis, we have immunolocalized the CFTR and Na,K-ATPase proteins in intact cysts and in cyst epithelial cells cultured in vitro on permeable filter supports. In both settings, cyst epithelial cells were found to possess Na,K-ATPase exclusively at their basolateral surfaces; apical labeling was not detected. The CFTR protein was present at the apical surfaces of cyst epithelial cells that had been stimulated to secrete through incubation in forskolin. CFTR was detected in intracellular structures in cultured cyst epithelial cells that had not received the forskolin treatment. These results demonstrate that the renal epithelial cells that line cysts in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease express transport systems with the appropriate polarity to mediate active Cl and fluid secretion.

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