The urinary bladder of the winter flounder absorbs NaCl by a process independent of the transepithelial voltage. In contrast to most other epithelia which have a neutral NaCl-absorptive system, the flounder bladder has a high transepithelial resistance. This feature simplifies analysis of the cellular transport system because the rate of ion transfer through the paracellular pathway is rather low. Experiments were designed to distinguish among three possible mechanisms of neutral NaCl absorption: (a) Na/K/2Cl cotransport; (b) parallel Na/H and Cl/OH exchange; (c) and simple NaCl cotransport. A clear interdependency of Na and Cl for net absorption was demonstrated. NaCl absorption was not dependent on mucosal K and was minimally sensitive to loop diuretics. Thus a Na/K/2Cl transport system was unlikely. The mechanism was not parallel exchange as evidenced by insensitivity to amiloride and to 4,4'-diisothiocyano-2,2'-disulfonic stilbene, an inhibitor of anion exchange. In addition, inhibitors of carbonic anhydrase had no effect. Net absorption was almost completely abolished by hydrochlorothiazide (0.1 mM). Its action was rapid, reversible, and effective only from the mucosal surface. Metolazone, a structurally dissimilar diuretic in the benzothiadiazide class had qualitatively similar actions. The mechanism of NaCl absorption in this tissue appears to be a simple interdependent process. Its inhibition by thiazide diuretics appears to be a unique feature. The flounder bladder may be a model for NaCl absorption in the distal renal tubule.
J B Stokes