The innate susceptibility of renal cell types to these agents was investigated using precision-cut rabbit renal cortical slices made perpendicular to the cortical-papillary axis. Slices were incubated in DME F12 medium containing 10 μm, 100 μm, or 1 mm concentrations of either metal for 12 hr or in Krebs-Hepes buffer gassed with nitrogen (100%) for 0.75 to 5 hr of hypoxic exposure. To simulate postischemic reperfusion, some slices were transferred to vessels gassed with oxygen after an initial hypoxic period. Mercuric chloride (100 μm) exposure resulted in damage to the straight regions of proximal tubules by 12 hr leaving convoluted regions unaffected. Hypoxia (2.25 hr) and potassium dichromate (100 μm for 12 hr) both caused injury to the convoluted proximal tubules without affecting straight proximal tubular regions. Mercury concentrations of 10 μm and 1 mm had no effect or injured all cell types within the slice, respectively. Similar results were observed for hypoxic periods less than 1.5 hr or greater than 3 hr of exposure. Potassium dichromate had no measurable affect at 10 μm, but at 1 mm focal lesions were observed after 4 hr of exposure, and by 12 hr all cell types within the slice were affected. Intracellular potassium content normalized to DNA correlated well, but always preceded the pathological lesions observed. These results demonstrate that injury to specific regions of the proximal tubule by these agents relates to an innate susceptibility of the intoxicated cell type independent of physiologic feedback or blood delivery patterns proposed as mechanisms of selective injury from in vivo studies.
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