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A mathematical model of solute coupled water transport in toad intestine incorporating recirculation of the actively transported solute

A mathematical model of solute coupled water transport in toad intestine incorporating recirculation of the actively transported solute

Journal of General Physiology 116(2): 101-124

ISSN/ISBN: 0022-1295

PMID: 10919860

DOI: 10.1085/jgp.116.2.101

A mathematical model of an absorbing leaky epithelium is developed for analysis of solute coupled water transport. The non-charged driving solute diffuses into cells and is pumped from cells into the lateral intercellular space (lis). All membranes contain water channels with the solute passing those of tight junction and interspace basement membrane by convection-diffusion. With solute permeability of paracellular pathway large relative to paracellular water flow, the paracellular flux ratio of the solute (influx/outflux) is small (2-4) in agreement with experiments. The virtual solute concentration of fluid emerging from lis is then significantly larger than the concentration in lis. Thus, in absence of external driving forces the model generates isotonic transport provided a component of the solute flux emerging downstream lis is taken up by cells through the serosal membrane and pumped back into lis, i.e., the solute would have to be recirculated. With input variables from toad intestine (Nedergaard, S., E.H. Larsen, and H.H. Ussing, J. Membr. Biol. 168:241-251), computations predict that 60-80% of the pumped flux stems from serosal bath in agreement with the experimental estimate of the recirculation flux. Robust solutions are obtained with realistic concentrations and pressures of lis, and with the following features. Rate of fluid absorption is governed by the solute permeability of mucosal membrane. Maximum fluid flow is governed by density of pumps on lis-membranes. Energetic efficiency increases with hydraulic conductance of the pathway carrying water from mucosal solution into lis. Uphill water transport is accomplished, but with high hydraulic conductance of cell membranes strength of transport is obscured by water flow through cells. Anomalous solvent drag occurs when back flux of water through cells exceeds inward water flux between cells. Molecules moving along the paracellular pathway are driven by a translateral flow of water, i.e., the model generates pseudo-solvent drag. The associated flux-ratio equation is derived.

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