Electroneutral absorption of NaCl by the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron: implication for normal electrolytes homeostasis and blood pressure regulation

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 Aug;71(15):2879-95. doi: 10.1007/s00018-014-1585-4. Epub 2014 Feb 21.


Sodium absorption by the distal part of the nephron, i.e., the distal convoluted tubule, the connecting tubule, and the collecting duct, plays a major role in the control of homeostasis by the kidney. In this part of the nephron, sodium transport can either be electroneutral or electrogenic. The study of electrogenic Na(+) absorption, which is mediated by the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), has been the focus of considerable interest because of its implication in sodium, potassium, and acid-base homeostasis. However, recent studies have highlighted the crucial role played by electroneutral NaCl absorption in the regulation of the body content of sodium chloride, which in turn controls extracellular fluid volume and blood pressure. Here, we review the identification and characterization of the NaCl cotransporter (NCC), the molecule accounting for the main part of electroneutral NaCl absorption in the distal nephron, and its regulators. We also discuss recent work describing the identification of a novel "NCC-like" transport system mediated by pendrin and the sodium-driven chloride/bicarbonate exchanger (NDCBE) in the β-intercalated cells of the collecting system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aldosterone / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Blood Pressure
  • Electrolytes / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Nephrons / metabolism*
  • Renin-Angiotensin System
  • Sodium Chloride / metabolism*


  • Electrolytes
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Aldosterone