Sex differences in membrane potential in the intact perfused rat liver

R. A. Weisiger, J. G. Fitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The electrical potential difference across the plasma membrane was compared in paired livers from male and female rats perfused single-pass with Krebs-bicarbonate buffer. Variability in the membrane potential measured for different cells within the same liver was small (SD = 1.3 mV). The mean membrane potential was 5.1 mV more negative for male livers than for female livers (-30.3 ± 0.6 vs. -25.2 ± 1.0 mV, P < 0.001), and the female liver in all nine pairs studied. No correlation between membrane potential and perfusion rate was seen. Variability among female livers was more than twice as great (range -19.6 to -30.0 mV) as for male livers (range -26.7 to -31.9 mV). These results suggest that hepatic membrane potential may be modulated by sex hormone levels, which are more variable in female animals. Because the hepatic uptake of bile acids such as taurocholate and organic anions such as bilirubin may involve net movement of electrical charge across the plasma membrane, the current results may explain previously reported sex differences in the uptake of these and other electrogenically transported molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18/6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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