Kidney-specific WNK1 inhibits sodium reabsorption in the cortical thick ascending limb

Chih Jen Cheng, Thao Truong, Michel Baum, Chou Long Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Kidneyspecific WNK1 (KS-WNK1) is a variant of full-length WNK1. Previous studies have reported that KS-WNK1 is predominantly expressed in the distal convoluted tubule (DCT) where it regulates sodium-chloride cotransporter. The role of KS-WNK1 in other nephron segments is less clear. Here, we measured the expression of KS-WNK1 transcript in microdissected renal tubules and found that KS-WNK1 was most abundant in the DCT, followed by cortical thick ascending limb (cTAL), connecting tubule, and cortical collecting duct. A high K+ diet enhanced the expression of KS-WNK1 in the DCT and cTAL, selectively. It has been reported that a high-K diet suppresses Na+ reabsorption in TAL. To understand the role of KS-WNK1 in Na+ transport in cTAL and the regulation by dietary K+, we examined Na+ reabsorption using in vitro microperfusion in cTAL isolated from KS-WNK1-knockout mice and wild-type littermates fed either a control-K+ or high-K+ diet. Furosemide-sensitive Na+ reabsorption in Ctal was higher in KS-WNK1-knockout (KO) mice than in wild-type. A high-K+ diet inhibited Na+ reabsorption in cTAL from wild-type mice, but the inhibition was eliminated in KS-WNK1-KO mice. We further examined the role of KS-WNK1 using transgenic mice that overexpress KS-WNK1. Na+ reabsorption in cTAL was lower in transgenic than in wild-type mice. In whole animal clearance studies, a high-K+ diet increased daily urine volume and urinary Na+ and K+ excretion in wild-type mice, which was blunted in KS-WNK1-KO mice. Thus KS-WNK1 inhibits Na+ reabsorption in cTAL and mediates the inhibition of Na+ reabsorption in the segment by a high-K diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F667-F673
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


  • Kidney-specific WMK1
  • Potassium adaptation
  • Sodium
  • Thick ascending limb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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