We have recently demonstrated that although the osmotic water permeability (Pf) of neonatal proximal tubules is higher than that of adult tubules, the Pf of brush-border and basolateral membrane vesicles from neonatal rabbits is lower than that of adults. The present study examined developmental changes in the water transport characteristics of proximal convoluted tubules (PCTs) in neonatal (9-16 days old) and adult rabbits to determine whether the intracellular compartment or paracellular pathway is responsible for the maturational difference in transepithelial water transport. The permeability of n-butanol was higher in the neonatal PCT than the adult PCT at all temperatures examined, whereas the diffusional water permeability was identical. Increasing the osmotic gradient increased volume absorption in both the neonatal and the adult PCT to the same degree. The Pf was not different between the neonatal and the adult PCT at any osmotic gradient studied. To assess solvent drag as a measure of the paracellular transport of water, the effect of the osmotic gradient on mannitol and chloride transport were measured. There was no change in chloride or mannitol transport with the increased osmotic gradient in either group, indicating that there was no detectable paracellular water movement. In addition, the mannitol permeability of the neonatal PCT was found to be lower than that of the adult PCT with the isotonic bath (8.97 ± 4.01 vs. 40.49 ± 13.89 μm/s, P < 0.05). Thus the intracellular compartment of the neonatal PCT has a lower resistance for water transport than the adult PCT and is responsible for the higher than expected Pf in the neonatal PCT.
- Butanol permeability
- Diffusional water permeability
- In vitro microperfusion
- Proximal convoluted tubules
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