Role of glucocorticoids in the maturation of the rat renal Na+/H+ antiporter (NHE3)

N. Gupta, S. R. Tarif, M. Seikaly, M. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background. Neonates have a lower Na+/H+ antiporter activity on the apical membrane of proximal tubule than that of adults. The maturational increase in Na+/H+ antiporter activity occurs at the time when there is a rise in serum glucocorticoid levels in rats. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether glucocorticoids are responsible for the postnatal increase in Na+/H+ antiporter activity. Methods. Nine-day-old Sprague-Dawley rats were compared with rats studied at 30 days of age who had either a sham operation or adrenalectomy (ADX) at nine days of age and with rats that had an adrenalectomy and physiologic corticosterone replacement (ADX-Cort) to determine whether glucocorticoid deficiency prevented the maturational increase in Na+/H+ antiporter activity. Na+/H+ antiporter activity was measured in proximal convoluted tubules perfused in vitro by the change in cell pH (pHi) following luminal sodium removal. NHE3 mRNA abundance was measured using Northern blot analysis, and NHE3 protein abundance was measured by immunoblot. Results. Na+/H+ antiporter activity was 93.8 ± 17.7, 157.0 ± 18.0, 356.7 ± 29.9, and 402.5 ± 14.5 pmol/mm · min in nine-day-old, ADX, ADX-Cort, and sham control groups, respectively. The ADX-Cort and sham control were higher than the 9-day-old and the 30-day-old ADX group (P < 0.05). Brush-border membrane NHE3 protein abundance in the nine-day-old and ADX groups were sixfold less than ADX-Cort and sham control groups (P < 0.001). Nine-day-old neonates had fivefold less renal cortical NHE3 mRNA than the ADX, ADX-Cort, and sham-operated control groups (P < 0.01). Conclusions. These data demonstrate that glucocorticoids play a role in the postnatal maturation of the proximal tubule Na+/H+ antiporter activity and brush-border membrane NHE3 protein abundance. Glucocorticoid deficiency does not completely prevent the maturational increase in Na+/H+ antiporter activity and does not affect NHE3 mRNA abundance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
JournalKidney international
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Adrenalectomy
  • Cell pH
  • Microperfusion
  • NHE3
  • Renal development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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