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Sodium-dependent short-circuit current across the yolk sac membrane during embryonic development in normal and shell-less cultured chicks


The transepithelial electrical characteristics of the isolated yolk sac membrane of normal in ovo or shell-less cultured chick embryos were investigated. In normal chicks the potential difference (blood side positive relative to yolk side) and short-circuit current of the membrane increased during development. Ouabain (10-4 M) on the blood side (basolateral side, serosal side) significantly decreased potential difference and short-circuit current but was without effect on the yolk side (brush border side, mucosal side). Substitution of choline for Na+ in the bathing solutions abolished the potential difference and the short-circuit current; when Na+ replaced choline this effect was reversed. Amiloride added to both sides of the yolk sac membrane had no effect on potential difference or short-circuit current. Injection of aldosterone (50 μg) and T3 (10 μM) into yolk did not induce amiloride sensitivity. The short-circuit current was not altered by addition of either glucose or alanine to the bath. The short-circuit current of the yolk sac membrane of shell-less cultured embryos was significantly lower than that of normal controls. Addition of Ca2+ to the serosal bathing medium did not reverse the foregoing condition, but decreased the short-circuit current. It is concluded that the yolk sac short-circuit current is Na+ dependent and increases with developmental age in the chick embryo.

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N-2-hydroxyethylpiperazine-N-2-ethaneoulphonic acid


potential difference

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short-circuit current


tris-hydroxymethyl aminomethane

T3 :



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Correspondence to Nancy B. Clark.

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Takada, M., Clark, N.B. Sodium-dependent short-circuit current across the yolk sac membrane during embryonic development in normal and shell-less cultured chicks. J Comp Physiol B 162, 496–501 (1992).

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Key words

  • Chick embryo
  • Yolk sac membrane
  • Na+-dependent SCC
  • Amiloride insensitive SCC
  • Shell-less culture