Mechanisms of volume regulation in hyposomotically treated cultured chick heart cell preparations were studied using optical, biochemical, and nuclear magnetic resonance methods. This approach afforded the resolution of time-dependent responses that might ordinarily be obscured by the complex morphology of intact cardiac muscle preparations. In hyposmotic solutions, cells swelled to a peak volume within 3 min and slowly regulated toward original volume (regulatory volume decrease, RVD). Upon return of the cells to isosmotic solution following hyposmotic treatment, the cells shrank to a steady-state volume that was substantially less than the initial volume in control solution. A vigorous RVD could also be elicited by hyposmotic swelling under Cl(-)-free conditions. Measurement of both inorganic cation loss via atomic absorption spectroscopy and organic solute loss via 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance and high-pressure liquid chromatographic techniques revealed that the RVD observed following exposure to hyposomotic solutions was mediated in part by a substantial loss of taurine, glutamate, aspartate, and glycine as well as loss of inorganic ions (Na+,K+). The hyposmotically activated transport of amino acids was also associated with the production of glutamate and aspartate. The volume regulatory release and production of amino acids have significant implications for the metabolic and functional integrity of cardiac cells.
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