Chloride-dependent potassium secretion in early and late renal distal tubules

Am J Physiol. 1987 Sep;253(3 Pt 2):F555-62. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.1987.253.3.F555.


Potassium transport by subsegments of the rat surface distal tubule was studied using a modified in vivo microperfusion method. The nephron segments between 14 and 38% and between 62 and 83% of total distal length distance between macula densa region and confluence of tubule with another) were perfused separately. The first of these two segments is composed primarily of distal convoluted tubule (DCT) cells; the more distal segment is made up primarily by initial collecting tubule (ICT) epithelium. Experiments were performed to measure potassium secretion via two pathways: a diffusion mechanism driven by a favorable electrochemical gradient for potassium, and a cotransport mechanism activated when lumen chloride concentration is low. In a first series of experiments, both the DCT and the ICT secreted potassium when perfused with an artificial control solution resembling fluid normally present at the beginning of the distal tubule. Absolute rates of potassium secretion were higher in the ICT than in the DCT. Decreasing lumen Cl concentration stimulated potassium secretion more in the ICT than in the DCT. In a second series of experiments, the subsegments were perfused with a solution in which ion concentrations were raised to levels found in interstitial fluid. Under these circumstances, potassium secretion was lower in both segments. Decreasing lumen Cl concentration resulted in higher rates of potassium secretion in the DCT than those seen in the first series with low chloride; rates of potassium secretion in the ICT were as high as in the first series.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Chlorides / physiology*
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism*
  • Kidney Tubules, Distal / anatomy & histology
  • Kidney Tubules, Distal / metabolism*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Rats


  • Chlorides
  • Potassium