To examine whether Cl- is transported via transcellular pathways in the thin ascending limb of Henle's loop (TAL), conventional microelectrode technique was applied in isolated TAL segments of hamsters perfused in vitro. The average basolateral membrane voltage (VB) was -24.5 +/- 1.5 mV (n = 18). Ouabain (10(-4) M) had no effect on VB. Sudden reduction of basolateral Cl- concentration from 165 to 5 mmol/liter caused a large depolarizing spike (+49.1 +/- 2.7 mV, n = 18), while the transepithelial potential (VT) showed lumen positive deflection by 33.4 +/- 1.2 mV, which indicates that a large Cl- conductance exists in the basolateral membrane. Reduction of luminal Cl- concentration caused sustained depolarization of luminal cell membrane from +24.5 +/- 2.1 to -9.7 +/- 3.4 mV (n = 6), which indicates that there is also a Cl- conductance in the luminal membrane. Since we have previously shown that acidification of ambient solution suppresses the transmural Cl- permeability, we tested whether acid pH also inhibits the Cl- conductance of the basolateral membrane. When pH of the bathing fluid was lowered to 5.8, the depolarizing spike of VB and the change of VT upon sudden reduction of basolateral Cl- were almost completely abolished. From these results we conclude: (a) both the luminal and the basolateral membrane of hamster TAL segments have Cl- conductances, and (b) Cl- transport in the TAL takes place, at least in part, via a transcellular route when a transepithelial Cl- gradient is present.
K Yoshitomi, Y Kondo, M Imai