Effect of hypokalemia on renal expression of the ammonia transporter family members, Rh B glycoprotein and Rh C glycoprotein, in the rat kidney

Ki Hwan Han, Hyun Wook Lee, Mary E. Handlogten, Jesse M. Bishop, Moshe Levi, Jin Kim, Jill W. Verlander, I. David Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hypokalemia is a common electrolyte disorder that increases renal ammonia metabolism and can cause the development of an acid-base disorder, metabolic alkalosis. The ammonia transporter family members, Rh B glycoprotein (Rhbg) and Rh C glycoprotein (Rhcg), are expressed in the distal nephron and collecting duct and mediate critical roles in acid-base homeostasis by facilitating ammonia secretion. In the current studies, the effect of hypokalemia on renal Rhbg and Rhcg expression was examined. Normal Sprague-Dawley rats received either K +-free or control diets for 2 wk. Rats receiving the K +-deficient diet developed hypokalemia and metabolic alkalosis associated with significant increases in both urinary ammonia excretion and urine pH. Rhcg expression increased in the outer medullary collecting duct (OMCD). In OMCD intercalated cells, hypokalemia resulted in more discrete apical Rhcg expression and a marked increase in apical plasma membrane immunolabel. In principal cells, in the OMCD, hypokalemia increased both apical and basolateral Rhcg immunolabel intensity. Cortical Rhcg expression was not detectably altered by immunohistochemistry, although there was a slight decrease in total expression by immunoblot analysis. Rhbg protein expression was decreased slightly in the cortex and not detectably altered in the outer medulla. We conclude that in rat OMCD, hypokalemia increases Rhcg expression, causes more polarized apical expression in intercalated cells, and increases both apical and basolateral expression in the principal cell. Increased plasma membrane Rhcg expression in response to hypokalemia in the rat, particularly in the OMCD, likely contributes to the increased ammonia excretion and thereby to the development of metabolic alkalosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F823-F832
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Volume301
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Acid-base
  • Ammonia
  • Collecting duct
  • Potassium

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