Macula densa cells sense luminal NaCl concentration via furosemide sensitive Na+2Cl-K+ cotransport

Pflugers Arch. 1989 Jul;414(3):286-90. doi: 10.1007/BF00584628.


The macula densa cells of the juxtaglomerular apparatus probably serve as the sensor cells for the signal which leads to the appropriate tubuloglomerular feedback response. The present study reports basolateral membrane voltage (PDbl) measurements in macula densa cells. We isolated and perfused in vitro thick ascending limb segments with the glomerulus, and therefore the macula densa cells, and the early distal tubule still attached. Macula densa cells were impaled with microelectrodes under visual control. PDbl was recorded in order to examine how these cells sense changes in luminal NaCl concentrations. The addition of furosemide, a specific inhibitor of the Na+2Cl-K+ cotransporter in the thick ascending limb, to the lumen of the perfused thick ascending limb hyperpolarized PDbl from -55 +/- 5 mV to -79 +/- 4 mV (n = 7). Reduction of NaCl in the lumen perfusate from 150 mmol/l to 30 mmol/l also hyperpolarized PDbl from -48 +/- 3 mV to -66 +/- 5 mV (n = 4). A Cl- concentration step in the bath from 150 mmol/l to 30 mmol/l resulted in a 24 +/- 4 mV (n = 4) depolarization of PDbl. This depolarization of PDbl was absent when furosemide was present during the Cl- concentration step. These data suggest that the macula densa cells sense changes in luminal NaCl concentration via coupled uptake of Na+ and Cl-.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Carrier Proteins / pharmacology
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects
  • Chlorides / pharmacokinetics
  • Female
  • Furosemide / pharmacology*
  • Juxtaglomerular Apparatus / analysis
  • Juxtaglomerular Apparatus / cytology*
  • Juxtaglomerular Apparatus / physiology
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Potassium / pharmacokinetics
  • Rabbits
  • Sodium / pharmacokinetics
  • Sodium Chloride / analysis
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacokinetics*
  • Sodium Chloride Symporters
  • Symporters*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Chlorides
  • Sodium Chloride Symporters
  • Symporters
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Furosemide
  • Sodium
  • Potassium