Ionic content and regulation of cellular volume in rat alveolar type II cells

G. S. Jones, P. R. Miles, R. C. Lantz, D. E. Hinton, V. Castranova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Alveolar type II epithelial cells were isolated by elastase digestion of rat lungs and purified by centrifugal elutriation. This method yields an enriched fraction of 1 x 107 cells/rat containing 85% pure type II pneumocytes. Purified type II cells exhibit a high rate of oxygen consumption, 215 nmol O2.106 cells-1.h-1, which is unaffected by the addition of succinate. Type II cells contain 2 μl H2O/107 cells and are approximately 325-330 μm3 in volume. These pneumocytes contain 107 mmol K/l cell H2O and 70 mmol Cl/l cell H2O. In addition, type II cells have a high Na content, i.e., 156 mmol/l cell H2O. However, most of this Na is bound with only 33% being exchangeable. Therefore, the cytoplasmic concentration of free Na is 51 mmol/l cell H2O. Na uptake is very rapid in type II cells, i.e. specific activity equilibrium is reached in 15 min with a half time of 5 min. In addition to this large passive transport of Na, type II cells exhibit a highly active Na-K pump involved in the regulation of cellular volume. Volume regulation is inhibited by a decrease in temperature (2° C) and by the addition of ouabain (10-4 M), Hg (10-5 M), or Cu (10-3 M).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-266
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 24 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology

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