The ionic environment of retinal photoreceptors is partially controlled by potassium transporters on retinal glial and retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE). In this study, serum and epidermal growth factor (EGF) were examined as modulators of potassium transport in confluent cultures of human RPE and rabbit retinal glia. EGF is a known mitogen for confluent RPE cultures and was shown here to also stimulate [3H]-thymidine incorporation in cultures of retinal glia. For potassium transport studies 86Rb was used as a tracer during a 17-min incubation. For both retinal cell types the mean total 88Rb uptake in 10% serum was approximately 60% above basal, serum-free controls. For EGF, tested in several experiments in a concentration range from 1 to 100 ng/ml, maximal total uptake was 33 and 24% above controls for RPE and glia, respectively. Inhibitor studies suggested that basal and serum-stimulated uptake for both cell types occurred by the ouabain-sensitive Na-K ATPase pump and by the furosemide- or bumetanide-sensitive Na-K-Cl cotransporter. EGF-stimulated uptake appeared to be due predominantly to the cotransporter. The data suggest that serum components and EGF, which may be available to retina-derived cells under pathologic conditions, may not only stimulate proliferation but may also act as short-term modulators of potassium ion movement and thus affect physiologic processes that are sensitive to ion homeostasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology