Physiology and Pathophysiology of Potassium Homeostasis: Core Curriculum 2019

Biff F. Palmer, Deborah J. Clegg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Total-body potassium (K+) content and appropriate distribution of K+ across the cell membrane is vitally important for normal cellular function. Total-body K+ content is determined by changes in excretion of K+ by the kidneys in response to intake levels. Under normal conditions, insulin and β-adrenergic tone also make important contributions in maintaining internal distribution of K+. However, despite these homeostatic pathways, disorders of altered K+ homeostasis are common. Appreciating the pathophysiology and regulatory influences that determine the internal distribution and external balance of K+ is critical in designing effective treatments to restore K+ homeostasis. We provide an up-to-date review of the regulatory aspects of normal K+ physiology as a preface to highlighting common disorders in K+ homeostasis and their treatment. This review of K+ homeostasis is designed as a resource for clinicians and a tool for educators who are teaching trainees to understand the pivotal factors involved in K+ balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-695
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Potassium
  • case-based learning
  • cell shift
  • dietary intake
  • dyskalemia
  • hyperkalemia
  • hypokalemia
  • kidney disease
  • nephrology education
  • potassium homeostasis
  • potassium wasting
  • renal excretion
  • review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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