Tubular Reabsorption Includes Passive and Active Mechanisms

For a substance to be reabsorbed, it must first be transported (1) across the tubular epithelial membranes into the renal interstitial fluid and then (2) through the peritubular capillary membrane back into the blood (Figure 27-1). Thus, reabsorption of water and solutes includes a series of transport steps. Reabsorption across the tubular epithelium into the interstitial fluid includes active or passive transport by way of the same basic mechanisms discussed in Chapter 4 for transport across other membranes of the body. For instance, water and solutes can be transported either through the cell membranes themselves (transcellular route) or through the junctional spaces between the cells (para-cellular route). Then, after absorption across the tubular epithelial cells into the interstitial fluid, water and solutes are transported the rest of the way through the peritubular capillary walls into the blood by ultrafiltration (bulk flow) that is mediated by hydrostatic and colloid osmotic forces. The peritubular capillaries behave very much like the venous ends of most other capillaries because there is a net reabsorptive force that moves the fluid and solutes from the interstitium into the blood.

Figure 27-1

Reabsorption of filtered water and solutes from the tubular lumen across the tubular epithelial cells, through the renal interstitium, and back into the blood. Solutes are transported through the cells (transcellular route) by passive diffusion or active transport, or between the cells (paracellular route) by diffusion. Water is transported through the cells and between the tubular cells by osmosis. Transport of water and solutes from the interstitial fluid into the peri-tubular capillaries occurs by ultrafiltration (bulk flow).

Active Transport

Active transport can move a solute against an electrochemical gradient and requires energy derived from metabolism. Transport that is coupled directly to an energy source, such as the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), is termed primary active transport. A good example of this is the sodium-potassium ATPase pump that functions throughout most parts of the renal tubule. Transport that is coupled indirectly to an energy source, such as that due to an ion gradient, is referred to as secondary active transport. Reabsorption of glucose by the renal tubule is an example of secondary active transport. Although solutes can be reabsorbed by active and/or passive mechanisms by the tubule, water is always reabsorbed by a passive

Passive Diffusion Across Renal Tubule

Interstitial fluid

Basement membrane

Intercellular space

Figure 27-2

Interstitial fluid

Basement membrane

Intercellular space

(nonactive) physical mechanism called osmosis, which means water diffusion from a region of low solute concentration (high water concentration) to one of high solute concentration (low water concentration).

Solutes Can Be Transported Through Epithelial Cells or Between Cells. Renal tubular cells, like other epithelial cells, are held together by tight junctions. Lateral intercellular spaces lie behind the tight junctions and separate the epithelial cells of the tubule. Solutes can be reabsorbed or secreted across the cells by way of the transcellular pathway or between the cells by moving across the tight junctions and intercellular spaces by way of the paracellular pathway. Sodium is a substance that moves through both routes, although most of the sodium is transported through the transcellular pathway. In some nephron segments, especially the proximal tubule, water is also reabsorbed across the paracellular pathway, and substances dissolved in the water, especially potassium, magnesium, and chloride ions, are carried with the reabsorbed fluid between the cells.

Primary Active Transport Through the Tubular Membrane Is

Linked to Hydrolysis of ATP. The special importance of primary active transport is that it can move solutes against an electrochemical gradient. The energy for this active transport comes from the hydrolysis of ATP by way of membrane-bound ATPase; the ATPase is also a component of the carrier mechanism that binds and moves solutes across the cell membranes. The primary active transporters that are known include sodium-potassium ATPase, hydrogen ATPase, hydrogen-potassium ATPase, and calcium ATPase.

A good example of a primary active transport system is the reabsorption of sodium ions across the proximal tubular membrane, as shown in Figure 27-2. On the basolateral sides of the tubular epithelial cell, the cell membrane has an extensive sodium-potassium ATPase system that hydrolyzes ATP and uses the released energy to transport sodium ions out of the cell into the interstitium. At the same time, potassium is transported from the interstitium to the inside of the cell. The operation of this ion pump maintains low intracellular sodium and high intracellular potassium concentrations and creates a net negative charge of about -70 millivolts within the cell. This pumping of sodium out of the cell across the basolateral membrane of the cell favors passive diffusion of sodium across the luminal membrane of the cell, from the tubular lumen into the cell, for two reasons: (1) There is a concentration gradient favoring sodium diffusion into the cell because intracellular sodium concentration is low (12 mEq/L) and tubular fluid sodium concentration is high (140 mEq/L). (2) The negative, -70-millivolt, intracellular potential attracts the positive sodium ions from the tubular lumen into the cell.

Active reabsorption of sodium by sodium-potassium ATPase occurs in most parts of the tubule. In certain parts of the nephron, there are additional provisions for moving large amounts of sodium into the cell. In the proximal tubule, there is an extensive

Figure 27-2

Basic mechanism for active transport of sodium through the tubular epithelial cell. The sodium-potassium pump transports sodium from the interior of the cell across the basolateral membrane, creating a low intracellular sodium concentration and a negative intracellular electrical potential. The low intracellular sodium concentration and the negative electrical potential cause sodium ions to diffuse from the tubular lumen into the cell through the brush border.

brush border on the luminal side of the membrane (the side that faces the tubular lumen) that multiplies the surface area about 20-fold. There are also sodium carrier proteins that bind sodium ions on the luminal surface of the membrane and release them inside the cell, providing facilitated diffusion of sodium through the membrane into the cell. These sodium carrier proteins are also important for secondary active transport of other substances, such as glucose and amino acids, as discussed later.

Thus, the net reabsorption of sodium ions from the tubular lumen back into the blood involves at least three steps:

1. Sodium diffuses across the luminal membrane (also called the apical membrane) into the cell down an electrochemical gradient established by the sodium-potassium ATPase pump on the basolateral side of the membrane.

2. Sodium is transported across the basolateral membrane against an electrochemical gradient by the sodium-potassium ATPase pump.

3. Sodium, water, and other substances are reabsorbed from the interstitial fluid into the peritubular capillaries by ultrafiltration, a passive process driven by the hydrostatic and colloid osmotic pressure gradients.

Secondary Active Reabsorption Through the Tubular Membrane.

In secondary active transport, two or more substances interact with a specific membrane protein (a carrier molecule) and are transported together across the membrane. As one of the substances (for instance, sodium) diffuses down its electrochemical gradient, the energy released is used to drive another substance

Interstitial Tubular fluid cells

Co-transport -----Glucose


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  • Selamawit
    How fluids and solutes are moved across membranes at tubular reabsorption?
    4 years ago
  • Roma
    What is passive tubular diffusion?
    4 years ago
  • gerardina
    Why glucose transport across tubular epithelium ic active?
    4 years ago
  • ottavio
    Is reabsorption of Cl into ultrafilterate actibe?
    3 years ago
  • stephanie
    What is involved in active and passive tubular reabsorption?
    3 years ago
  • Mario
    What is involved in active and passive tubular reabsorptiom?
    3 years ago
  • orlando
    Is reabsorption active or passive for sodium?
    1 year ago
  • Pamela
    Is reabsorption of water from renal tubule passive?
    1 year ago
  • Tuomo
    Is water transport active or passive across epithelial?
    8 months ago
  • stephan
    How active transport is done in the renal tubule?
    7 months ago
  • goldie
    Can water be reabsorbed by diffusion?
    5 months ago
  • william
    Is transcellular transport of ions in kidneys passive or active?
    4 months ago
  • billie
    Is reabsorption in kidneys passive?
    4 months ago
  • Andrea
    Is diffusion in the kidneys active or passive?
    3 months ago

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