Correlation of structure and function in developing proximal tubule of guinea pig

L. W. Welling, A. P. Evan, V. H. Gattone, S. Rollins, R. Saunders, F. J. Kaskel, A. Spitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Unlike the case in rat, rabbit, and other species in which nephron formation continues into the newborn period, nephrogenesis in the guinea pig is completed well before the time of birth. Therefore, the marked increase in proximal tubule reabsorption that occurs during the postnatal period in that species can be attributed entirely to an increase in the absorptive capacity of existing nephron units. The purpose of the present morphometric studies was to correlate that change in proximal tubule function with changes in the apical and basolateral cell membrane surface areas. The apical and basolateral membrane surface densities were found to be approximately equal to each other and to remain constant throughout development. Because of increasing tubule volume, however, both membranes doubled in size between 1 and 3 wk of age and eventually increased by a factor of 3.5 in the adult. At the same time, there was little change in the length of tight function complexes measured in the plane of the luminal surface. Using previously published functional data and tubule length data, a good correlation was found between absolute absorption and total basolateral membrane surface area throughout the entire period of development in proximal tubules. Absorption per unit area of basolateral membrane was approximately 0.55, 0.41, 0.56, and 0.42 x 10-6 nl · min-1 · mm-2 in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd wk, and in adult animals, respectively, and thus was similar to that reported for proximal tubule segments of adult rabbit and juvenile to adult rat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F13-F17
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology
Issue number1 (25/1)
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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