Letter | Published:

Independent routes for Na transport across dog red cell membranes

Naturevolume 256pages580582 (1975) | Download Citation



PARKER and Snow1 have shown that extracellular ATP produces an apparently nonspecific and reversible increase in the cation (Na+ and K+) permeability of dog red cells, as a result of which the cells swell gradually during suspension in an isosmolar physiological bathing medium containing ATP. This effect contrasts markedly with the usual dependence on cell volume of cation fluxes in this type of red cell2–6 which, unlike most mammalian erythrocytes, is close to ionic equilibrium with plasma6–7, and lacks an ouabain-sensitive ion pump8,9. Exogenous ATP was found to influence the surface properties of chick embryo fibroblasts10, and also cause volume changes and cation imbalances in ascites tumour cells11, and it has been suggested11 that ATP alters the passive permeability of the membrane to Na+ and K+ rather than the cation pumping mechanism per se. Effects of ATP on the membrane transport characteristics of various tissue culture cell lines have been studied12,13, and it has been proposed12 that the translocation of ATP itself may be linked with ion movement across membranes.

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  1. Division of Cryobiology, Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, HA1 3UJ, UK

    • B. C. ELFORD


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