Role of NH3 and NH4+ transporters in renal acid-base transport.

Division of Nephrology, Hypertension and Transplantation, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.
AJP Renal Physiology (Impact Factor: 4.42). 11/2010; 300(1):F11-23. DOI: 10.1152/ajprenal.00554.2010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Renal ammonia excretion is the predominant component of renal net acid excretion. The majority of ammonia excretion is produced in the kidney and then undergoes regulated transport in a number of renal epithelial segments. Recent findings have substantially altered our understanding of renal ammonia transport. In particular, the classic model of passive, diffusive NH3 movement coupled with NH4+ "trapping" is being replaced by a model in which specific proteins mediate regulated transport of NH3 and NH4+ across plasma membranes. In the proximal tubule, the apical Na+/H+ exchanger, NHE-3, is a major mechanism of preferential NH4+ secretion. In the thick ascending limb of Henle's loop, the apical Na+-K+-2Cl- cotransporter, NKCC2, is a major contributor to ammonia reabsorption and the basolateral Na+/H+ exchanger, NHE-4, appears to be important for basolateral NH4+ exit. The collecting duct is a major site for renal ammonia secretion, involving parallel H+ secretion and NH3 secretion. The Rhesus glycoproteins, Rh B Glycoprotein (Rhbg) and Rh C Glycoprotein (Rhcg), are recently recognized ammonia transporters in the distal tubule and collecting duct. Rhcg is present in both the apical and basolateral plasma membrane, is expressed in parallel with renal ammonia excretion, and mediates a critical role in renal ammonia excretion and collecting duct ammonia transport. Rhbg is expressed specifically in the basolateral plasma membrane, and its role in renal acid-base homeostasis is controversial. In the inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD), basolateral Na+-K+-ATPase enables active basolateral NH4+ uptake. In addition to these proteins, several other proteins also contribute to renal NH3/NH4+ transport. The role and mechanisms of these proteins are discussed in depth in this review.

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