MDCK Cells Under Severely Hypoosmotic Conditions

  • James S. Clegg
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 64)


The literature on animal cells exposed to anisosmotic solutions is truly massive as one may appreciate from a few selected recent reviews on the subject (Gilles et al. 1987; Macknight, 1988; Chamberlin and Strange, 1989; Kleinzeller and Ziyadeh, 1990; Beyenbach, 1990). No attempt will be made here to review this research, but a few introductory comments on hypoosmotic exposure are in order. The extent to which osmolarity of the surrounding medium has been reduced varies widely, according to the intentions of the investigators, but commonly amounts to reductions of 50 percent or less. A huge effort has gone into the means by which such cells restore their volumes (if they do so). Occasional reference has also been made to the remarkable ability of certain animal cells to survive exposure to, “essentially”, distilled water (see, for example, Kleinzeller and Ziyadeh, 1990; Macknight, 1987). However, to my knowledge these reports are anecdotal, and no detailed account of this extreme situation seems to have been published. Study of the behavior of cells in such dilute solutions might provide insight into the potential involvement of cell ultrastructure in cell swelling. In addition, some interesting questions arise about their metabolic status. For these reasons we carried out a series of experiments using Madin-Darby canine kidney cells (MDCK). This cell type was selected because it is a stable, well-established epithelial line, and widely used in studies involving volume changes (see Roy and Sauvé 1987; Helig et al. 1990; Mills, 1987). Moreover, the cytomatrix of MDCK cells has been described in reasonable detail (see Fey and Penman, 1986; Mitchell, 1990). As we shall see, their response to extremely dilute solutions is impressive.


MDCK Cell Confluent Cell Cell Volume Regulation Cytoplasmic Structure Normal Growth Medium 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • James S. Clegg
    • 1
  1. 1.Bodega Marine LaboratoryUniversity of California (Davis)Bodega BayUSA

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