Unraveling the relationship between macula densa cell volume and luminal solute concentration/osmolality

P. Komlosi, A. Fintha, P. D. Bell

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At the macula densa, flow-dependent changes in luminal composition lead to tubuloglomerular feedback and renin release. Apical entry of sodium chloride in both macula densa and cortical thick ascending limb (cTAL) cells occurs via furosemide-sensitive sodium-chloride-potassium cotransport. In macula densa, apical entry of sodium chloride leads to changes in cell volume, although there are conflicting data regarding the directional change in macula densa cell volume with increases in luminal sodium chloride concentration. To further assess volume changes in macula densa cells, cTAL-glomerular preparations were isolated and perfused from rabbits, and macula densa cells were loaded with fluorescent dyes calcein and 1-(4-trimethylammoniumphenyl)-6-phenyl-1,3,5- hexatriene p-toluenesulfonate. Cell volume was determined with wide-field and multiphoton fluorescence microscopy. Increases in luminal sodium chloride concentration from 0 to 80 mmol/l at constant osmolality led to cell swelling in macula densa and cTAL cells, an effect that was blocked by luminal application of furosemide. However, increases in luminal sodium chloride concentration from 0 to 80 mmol/l with concomitant increases in osmolality caused sustained decreases in macula densa cell volume but transient increases in cTAL cell volume. Increases in luminal osmolality with urea also resulted in macula densa cell shrinkage. These studies suggest that, under physiologically relevant conditions of concurrent increases in luminal sodium chloride concentration and osmolality, there is macula densa cell shrinkage, which may play a role in the macula densa cell signaling process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-871
Number of pages7
JournalKidney International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 28 2006



  • Cell volume
  • Juxtaglomerular apparatus
  • Macula densa
  • Multiphoton microscopy
  • Tubuloglomerular feedback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

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