Background. Cyclosporine (CsA) has been shown to alter the activity of plasma membrane transporters in kidney epithelial cells. In this study, we have investigated the effects of CsA on Na+,K+-ATPase and Na+-K+-Cl- cotransport activities in cultured cells derived from microdissected mouse medullary thick ascending limb (mTAL) cells. Methods. Experiments were carried out on subcultured confluent mouse TAL cells. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction experiments showed that they expressed the mNKCC2 electroneutral Na+-K+-Cl- cotransporter and ROM-K1 and ROMK2 potassium channel mRNA. Western blotting also revealed the presence of the 40 kD ROMK protein using an anti-ROMK antibody. The effect of CsA (100 ng/mL) on ion transport was assessed by measuring the influx and efflux of rubidium (86Rb+) and 36Cl-, used as tracers of K+ and Cl- movements, on cells grown on Petri dishes or permeable filters. Results. CsA inhibited by 38% the ouabain-sensitive component of 86Rb+ influx mediated by the Na+,K+-ATPase pumps. CsA also increased by 38% the ouabain-resistant furosemide-sensitive component (Or-Fs) of 86Rb+ influx, reflecting the Na+-K+-Cl- cotransport activity and stimulated the basolateral efflux of 36Cl- from mTAL cells grown on filters. The CsA-stimulated basal efflux of Cl- was prevented by the basal addition of the Cl- channel blocker 5-nitro-2-(3-phenylpropylamino) benzoate (NPPB, 10-4 mol/L). Apical addition of the K+ channel blocking agent Ba2+ (10-4 mol/L) partially prevented the CsA-stimulated basal efflux of Cl-. Adding Ba2+ to the luminal side of cells grown on Petri dishes also prevented the rise in apical 86Rb+ efflux and the increased Or-Fs component of 86Rb+ influx caused by CsA. Conclusion. These results indicated that CsA may stimulate the Na+-K+-Cl- cotransport activity and also suggested that this immunosuppressive agent may interfere in the recycling of apical K+ in this model of cultured mouse TAL cells.
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