Sodium and anion transport across the avian uterine (shell gland) epithelium

Alisen E. Vetter, Scott M. O'Grady

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12 Scopus citations


The uterine (shell gland) epithelium from the domestic chicken was mounted in Ussing chambers, bathed in symmetric avian saline solution on both apical and basolateral aspects and voltage clamped at 0 mV. The epithelium exhibited a basal short circuit current (Isc) that was partially inhibited by the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) blockers, amiloride and benzamil (IC50 values of 0.8 and 0.12 μmol l-1, respectively). Inhibition of basal Na+ absorption by 10 μmol l-1 amiloride was confirmed by measurements of transepithelial Na+ and Cl- fluxes, where inhibition of the apical-to-basolateral and net Na+ flux occurred, but no significant effects on Cl- fluxes were detected. The amiloride-insensitive portion of the basal I sc was both Cl- and HCO3- dependent and was inhibited by the Cl- channel blocker, diphenyl-2-carboxylate (DPC; 100 μmol l-1). Stimulation with 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)- cyclic 3′-5′, adenosine monophosphate (8-cpt cAMP) produced a sustained increase in Isc that was dependent on both Cl- and HCO3-. The magnitude of the amiloride-sensitive I sc was approximately twofold greater in birds where shell formation was complete, but oviposition had not yet occurred. In addition, the amiloride-sensitive Isc was greater in hens over the age of 55 weeks and in molting birds. The anion-dependent component of the basal Isc was reduced in older birds, and electrogenic HCO3- transport was nearly absent in molting birds. These results demonstrated that electrogenic Na+ transport in avian shell gland was similar to the mammalian uterine epithelium and increased with age and during molting. Electrogenic Cl- and HCO3- transport were coupled under basal and cAMP stimulated conditions and basal anion transport decreased with age and during molting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-486
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Acetazolamide
  • Bicarbonate secretion
  • Carbonic anhydrase
  • Chicken
  • Eggshell formation
  • EnaC
  • Gallus domesticus


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