On the mechanism of amiloride-sensitive nonelectrogenic Na+-H+ exchange in cell membranes: Na+/H+ antiport or Na+/OH- symport?

V. S. Markin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The amiloride-sensitive and nonelectrogenic Na+-H+ exchange system of eucaryotic cells is currently a topic of great interest. The results of membrane transport in the presence of protons are shown to be similar in two cases: when H+ is transferred in one direction or OH- -in the opposite direction. Therefore, in principle Na+-H+ exchange can be performed by two different mechanisms: Na+/H+ antiport or Na+/OH- symport. However, the kinetic properties of these mechanisms turn out to be quite different. The present study analyses the simplest models of antiport and symport and delineates their important differences. For this purpose the Lineweaver-Burk plot presented as Na+ reverse flow entering a cell 1/JNa (or H+ leaving a cell) versus the reverse concentration of Na+ outside 1/[Na+]0 is most useful. If a series of lines with external pH as a parameter have a common point of intersection placed on the ordinate, it indicates the availability of Na+/H+ antiport. In case of Na+/OH- symport a point of intersection is shifted to the left of the ordinate axis. According to data available in the literature, Na+/H+ antiport manifests itself in dog kidney cells and in hamster lung fibroblasts. In the skeletal muscles of chicken and in rat thymus lymphocytes however, a Na+/OH- symport is apparently present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-468
Number of pages20
JournalGeneral physiology and biophysics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1987


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology

Cite this