A membrane conductance activated by cell swelling was characterized in cells of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Manipulations of internal and external Cl concentration revealed that the conductance is permeable to Cl and somewhat permeable to the gluconate anion used for Cl substitution (ratio of gluconate to Cl permeability approximately 0.1). The conductance was blocked by the Cl channel blockers 4,4'-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid and 4-acetamido-4'-isothiocyanostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid in a manner consistent with open-channel blockade. Both the onset and recovery of the Cl current following a transient increase in cell volume were slow. This suggests that activation of the current depends on some internal signal rather than directly on membrane stretch. Experiments to examine a possible role for intracellular Ca concentration ([Ca]i) in regulation of the current demonstrated that an increase in [Ca]i was not involved in the linkage between swelling and Cl current; activation of the current was unaffected by the calcium-buffering conditions, the current could not be activated by large increases in [Ca]i elicited by ionomycin, and no changes in [Ca]i were observed to be associated with swelling. RPE cells normally experience changes in the volume and ionic composition of the extracellular subretinal space during changes in illumination conditions; therefore, the volume-sensitive Cl conductance may play a role in volume regulation in the RPE in response to these extracellular changes and/or in transepithelial fluid transport.
- Copyright © 1993 the American Physiological Society