Activation and inactivation of taurine efflux in hyposmotic and isosmotic swelling in cortical astrocytes: Role of ionic strength and cell volume decrease

V. Cardin, C Peña-Segura, H Pasantes-Morales

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A decrease in intracellular ionic strength appears involved in the activation of swelling-elicited 3H-taurine efflux in cortical cultured astrocytes. Hyposmotic (50%) or isosmotic urea-induced swelling leading to a decrease of intracellular ionic strength, activated 3H-taurine efflux from a rate constant of about 0.008 min(-1) to 0.33 min(-1) (hyposmotic) and 0.59 min(-1) (urea). This efflux rate was markedly lower (maximal 0.03 min(-1)) in isosmotic swelling caused by K+ accumulation, where there is no decrease in ionic strength, or in cold (10 degrees C) hyposmotic medium (maximal 0.18 min(-1)), where swelling is reduced and consequently intracellular ionic strength is less affected. Also, astrocytes pretreated with hyperosmotic medium, which recover cell volume by ion accumulation, did not release 3H-taurine when they swelled by switching to isosmotic medium, but when volume was recovered by accumulation of urea, taurine release was restored. These results point to a key role of ionic strength in the activation of osmosensitive 3H-taurine efflux. In contrast, its inactivation was independent of the change in ionic strength but appears related to the reduction in cell volume after swelling, since despite the extent or direction of the change in ionic strength, the 3H-taurine efflux did not inactivate in isosmotic KCl-elicited swelling when cell volume did not recover nor in hyposmotic swelling when RVD was impaired by replacing NaCl in the medium by permeant osmolytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number6
Early online date21 May 1999
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 1999


  • volume regulation
  • osmolytes
  • isosmotic swelling
  • hyposmotic swelling
  • urea
  • KCl swelling

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