Electrochemical disturbances of skeletal muscle cells in untreated uremia are characterized by an increase in the intracellular sodium and chloride content, a decrease in intracellular potassium, and a low resting membrane potential. In this study, we have reexamined the foregoing and, in addition, have examined the effects of hemodialysis. Three groups of patients were studied. In the first group of 22 uncomplicated uremic patients, whose creatinine clearance (Ccr) ranged from 2 to 12 cm3/min per 1.73 m2, resting transmembrane potential difference (Em) of skeletal muscle cells was measured. In each of the nine patients whose Ccr ranged between 6.3 and 12 cm3/min, the Em was normal (i.e., −90.8±0.9 mV, mean±SEM). However, as Ccr dropped below 6.3 cm/min, the Em became progressively reduced and assumed a linear relationship with the Ccr.
James R. Cotton, Terry Woodard, Norman W. Carter, James P. Knochel