Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

, Volume 471, Issue 1, pp 185–191 | Cite as

Mechanisms and regulation of epithelial phosphate transport in ruminants: approaches in comparative physiology

  • Alexandra S. Muscher-BanseEmail author
  • Gerhard Breves
Invited Review


Ruminants have a unique utilization of phosphate (Pi) based on the so-called endogenous Pi recycling to guarantee adequate Pi supply for ruminal microbial growth and for buffering short-chain fatty acids. Large amounts of Pi enter the gastrointestinal tract by salivary secretion. The high saliva Pi concentrations are generated by active secretion of Pi from blood into primary saliva via basolateral sodium (Na+)-dependent Pi transporter type II. The following subsequent intestinal absorption of Pi is mainly carried out in the jejunum by the apical located secondary active Na+-dependent Pi transporters NaPi IIb (SLC34A2) and PiT1 (SLC20A1). A reduction in dietary Pi intake stimulates the intestinal Pi absorption by increasing the expression of NaPi IIb despite unchanged plasma 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations, which modulate Pi homeostasis in monogastric species. Reabsorption of glomerular filtrated plasma Pi is mainly mediated by the Pi transporters NaPi IIa (SLC34A1) and NaPi IIc (SLC34A3) in proximal tubule apical cells. The expression of NaPi IIa and the corresponding renal Na+-dependent Pi capacity were modulated by high dietary phosphorus (P) intake in a parathyroid-dependent manner. In response to reduced dietary Pi intake, the expression of NaPi IIa was not adapted indicating that renal Pi reabsorption in ruminants runs at a high level allowing no further increase when P intake is diminished. In bones and in the mammary glands, Na+-dependent Pi transporters are able to contribute to maintaining Pi homeostasis. Overall, the regulation of Pi transporter activity and expression by hormonal modulators confirms substantial differences between ruminant and non-ruminant species.


1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D 3 Goat NaPi IIa NaPi IIb PiT1 Phosphate PTH 



The authors wish to thank Frances Sherwood-Brock for proofreading the manuscript.

Funding information

The research was partly supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SFB 280, Br 780/4-2, Br 780/11-1, Br 780/11-2, Mu 3585/1-1).


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of Veterinary Medicine HannoverHannoverGermany

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