A dose response curve for glucocorticoid-induced proximal and distal colonic cation transport in vivo was established in adrenalectomized rats. All doses (0.5-50 nmol/100 g body wt) stimulated sodium absorption. Distal sodium absorption did not saturate at dexamethasone levels that saturate the glucocorticoid receptor but also bind to greater than 35% of aldosterone receptors. Saturation of the pure glucocorticoid response occurred in both segments with RU26988, a synthetic glucocorticoid that does not occupy aldosterone receptors. Maximum velocities for pure glucocorticoid-induced sodium absorption were 15 and 16 mu eq/min per g dry tissue, and Michaelis constants (Km) were 4.2 and 4.6 X 10(-9) mol/liter for proximal and distal colon. Kms are similar to the dissociation constant for the colonic glucocorticoid receptor and too low for significant aldosterone receptor occupancy. Dexamethasone increased sodium absorption significantly within 30 min of injection, suggesting the response is not dependent on new protein synthesis. Similar time and dose responses in proximal and distal colon suggest glucocorticoids stimulate the same pathway in both segments.
C P Bastl