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Research Article

Intracellular chloride activities in canine tracheal epithelium. Direct evidence for sodium-coupled intracellular chloride accumulation in a chloride-secreting epithelium.

M J Welsh

Published May 1983

Canine tracheal epithelium secretes Cl via an electrogenic transport process that appears to apply to a wide variety of secretory epithelia. To examine the mechanisms involved, intracellular chloride activity, acCl, was measured with Cl-selective intracellular microelectrodes. The results indicate that when the rate of secretion was minimal acCl was 37 mM; with stimulation of secretion the intracellular voltage depolarized, but acCl was not significantly altered, at 39 mM. These findings indicate that: (a) Cl is accumulated across the basolateral membrane under nonsecreting and secreting conditions at an activity 3.8 and 2.4 times, respectively, that predicted for an equilibrium distribution; (b) Cl exit across the apical membrane may be passive with an electrochemical driving force of 22 mV; and (c) stimulation of secretion enhanced the rate of Cl entry across the basolateral membrane, since Cl transport increased without a change in acCl. In the absence of Na in the extracellular fluid, acCl approached the value expected for an equilibrium distribution. This finding suggests that "uphill" entry of Cl into the cell against its electrochemical gradient is dependent upon, and energized by, the entry of Na down its gradient. Submucosal bumetanide, a loop diuretic, also decreased the rate of Cl secretion and decreased acCl, indicating an inhibition of Cl entry. These findings indicate that Cl entry into the cell is directed against its electrochemical gradient and is mediated by a Na-coupled, bumetanide-inhibitable, transport process at the basolateral membrane and that Cl may exit passively down a favorable electrochemical gradient across the apical membrane.

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