Acute hypertension provokes internalization of proximal tubule NHE3 without inhibition of transport activity

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2002 Apr;282(4):F730-40. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00298.2001.


Acute hypertension rapidly decreases proximal tubule (PT) Na(+) reabsorption, facilitated by a redistribution of PT Na(+)/H(+) exchangers (NHE3) out of the apical brush border, increasing NaCl at the macula densa, the signal for autoregulation of renal blood flow and GFR. This study aimed to determine whether NHE3 activity per transporter decreases during acute hypertension and the time dependence of the response. Blood pressure was elevated by 50-60 mmHg in male Sprague-Dawley rats for 5 or 30 min by constricting arteries. Renal cortical membranes were fractionated by density gradient centrifugation. NHE3 transport activity was assayed as the rate of appearance of acridine orange (AO) from AO-loaded vesicles in response to an inwardly directed Na(+) gradient. After 5-min hypertension, 20% of total NHE3 protein, assayed by immunoblot, redistributed from low-density apical membranes to middensity membranes enriched in intermicrovillar cleft markers; by 30 min, a similar percentage shifted to heavier density membranes containing markers of endosomes. NHE3 activity shifted to higher density membranes along with NHE3 protein, that is, no change in activity/transporter during acute hypertension. Confocal analysis of NHE3 distribution also verified removal from apical microvilli and appearance in subapical vesicles. We conclude that the decrease in renal PT Na(+) transport during acute hypertension is mediated by removal of transport-competent NHE3 from the apical brush border to subapical and internal reserves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amiloride / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Diuretics / pharmacology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / drug effects
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / enzymology*
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / physiopathology*
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Membranes / enzymology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchanger 3
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers / metabolism*
  • Subcellular Fractions / drug effects
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism


  • Diuretics
  • Slc9a3 protein, rat
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchanger 3
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers
  • Amiloride