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Different modes of electrogenic Na+ absorption in the coprodeum of the chicken embryo: role of extracellular Ca2+

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Transepithelial electrogenic Na+ transport (INa) was investigated in the coprodeum of 20-days-old chicken embryos in Ussing chambers. Short circuit current (Isc) and transepithelial resistance (Rt) were 14.7±4.8 μA · cm-2 (n=12) and 0.53±0.09 kΩ · cm-2 (n=12), respectively. INa was calculated from changes in Isc by substitution of mucosal Na+ by (N-methyl-d-glucamine) (NMDG). Isc inversed during Na+ removal, and INa was found to be 27.8±4.7 μA · cm-2 (n=12). Amiloride (100 μmol · l-1) inhibited only about 60% of INa. Analysis of Isc fluctuations revealed a Lorentzian component in the power density spectrum with a corner frequency of about 57 Hz. This component was not correlated to INa, and its origin is still unclear. Removal of mucosal Ca2+ increased INa about 2.5-fold due to an increase of the amiloride-insensitive component of INa in additionally investigated adult tissues. The results clearly show that this is due to a non-selective cation channel with an “apparent” order of selectivity Cs+>Na+=K+>Rb+>Li+. The Ca2+ concentration required to block 50% of the Isc was about 18 μmol · l-1. The I sc Ca could also be supressed by other divalent cations such as Mg2+ and Ba2+. Additionally, an INa-linked Lorentzian component occurred which dominated the control spectrum with a significantly higher corner frequency (about 88 Hz). The results indicate that Na+ absorption in the coprodeum of the chicken embryo is more complex than in adult hens. However, the Ca2+ sensitivity of INa is similar to comparable effects described for other epithelia. This possibly reflects the existence of two types of amiloride-insensitive apical cation channels as pathways for Na+ absorption, which may be involved to differing degrees in ontogenetic developments of nonselective channels to Na+-specific ion channels.

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direct-linear-plot method


slope of the back-ground noise component


ethylene glycol-bi(2-amino-ethylether)-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid

f :


f c :

corner frequency of the Lorentzian noise component

G t :

transepithelial conductance


N-hydroxyethylpiperazine-N′-ethanesulfonic acid

I sc :

short-circuit current

I Na :

transepithelial sodium current

I sc Ca :

Ca2+-sensitive short-circuit current

K m Ca :

Michaelis-Menten constant for Ca2+

K B :

power density of the background noise component at f=1Hz

m :




R t :

transepithelial resistance

s :



standard error of mean

S(f) :

power density of the Lorentzian noise component

S o :

plateau value of the Lorentzian noise component


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Heinz, M., Krattenmacher, R., Hoffmann, B. et al. Different modes of electrogenic Na+ absorption in the coprodeum of the chicken embryo: role of extracellular Ca2+ . J Comp Physiol B 161, 363–370 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00260794

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Key words

  • Noise analysis
  • Chicken embryo
  • Coprodeum
  • Sodium absorption
  • Calcium sensitivity