Effect of cortisol on the physiology of cultured pavement cell epithelia from freshwater trout gills

S. P. Kelly, C. M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Cortisol had dose-dependent effects on the electrophysiological, permeability, and ion-transporting properties of cultured pavement cell epithelia derived from freshwater rainbow trout gills and grown on cell culture filter supports. Under both symmetrical (L15 media apical/L15 media basolateral) and asymmetrical (freshwater apical/L15 media basolateral) culture conditions, cortisol treatment elevated transepithelial resistance, whereas permeability of epithelia to a paracellular permeability marker (polyethylene glycol-4000) decreased. Cortisol did not alter the Na+-K+-ATPase activity or the total protein content of the cultured preparations. During 24-h exposure to asymmetrical conditions, the net loss rates of both Na+ and Cl- to the water decreased with increasing cortisol dose, an important adaptation to dilute media. Unidirectional Na+ and Cl- flux measurements and the application of the Ussing flux-ratio criterion revealed cortisol-induced active uptake of both Na+ and Cl- under symmetrical culture conditions together with an increase in transepithelial potential (positive on the basolateral side). Under asymmetrical conditions, cortisol did not promote active ion transport across the epithelium. These experiments provide evidence for the direct action of cortisol on cultured pavement cell epithelia and, in particular, emphasize the importance of cortisol for limiting epithelial permeability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R811-R820
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3 50-3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Gill cell culture
  • Ion transport
  • Na-K-ATPase
  • Permeability
  • Rainbow trout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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