Cortisol stimulates calcium transport across cultured gill epithelia from freshwater rainbow trout

Scott P. Kelly, Chris M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The effect of cortisol on calcium (Ca2+) transport across cultured rainbow trout gill epithelia composed of both pavement cells (PVCs) and mitochondria-rich cells (MRCs) was examined. Under symmetrical culture conditions (L15 media apical/L15 media basolateral), cortisol had subtle effects on gill epithelial preparations. Both control and cortisol treated epithelia exhibited Ca2+ influx and efflux rates (measured radioisotopically using 45Ca) that were approximately balanced, with a slight inwardly directed net Ca2+ flux. Ussing flux ratio analysis indicated active Ca2+ transport in the inward direction across epithelia bathed symmetrically regardless of hormone treatment. In contrast, under asymmetrical conditions (freshwater apical/L15 media basolateral) control epithelia exhibited active Ca2+ transport in the outward direction (basolateral to apical) throughout experiments conducted over a 24-h period, whereas cortisol-treated preparations exhibited active transport in the inward direction (apical to basolateral) during the early stages of an asymmetrical culture period (e.g., T0-6 h) and passive transport during the later stages (e.g., T18-24 h). When soft freshwater (with tenfold lower [Ca2+]) was used for asymmetrical culture instead of freshwater, control epithelia developed outwardly directed active Ca2+ transport properties, whereas cortisol-treated preparations did not. The results of this study support a hypercalcemic role for cortisol in rainbow trout and demonstrate that treating cultured gill epithelia composed of both PVCs and MRCs with cortisol can stimulate active Ca2+ uptake under circumstances that more closely resemble natural conditions for fish gills (i.e., freshwater bathing the apical side of the epithelium).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Cortisol
  • Ion transport
  • Mitochondria-rich cells
  • Pavement cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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