Cell Physiology

Interactions of cell volume, membrane potential, and membrane transport parameters

E. Jakobsson


Equations have been written and solved that describe for animal cells the relationships among membrane transport, cell volume, membrane potential, and distribution of permeant solute. The essential system consists of n + 2 equations, where n is the number of permeant solute species. The n of the equations are the n transport equations for the permeant species, one for each species. The other two equations are statements of 1) the condition for bulk electroneutrality inside the cell and 2) the condition for isotonicity between the interior and exterior of the cell. Numerical solutions have been obtained in both the steady-state and time-varying cases for transport equations that are physically and phenomenologically reasonable. In addition to numerical solutions analytic expressions are presented that show the ranges of membrane parameters essential for volume regulation; for values of membrane parameters beyond explicitly defined bounds, the equations do not have real, positive solutions for cell volume.