Effects of cortisol and prolactin on Na+ and Cl- transport in cultured branchial epithelia from FW rainbow trout

Bingsheng Zhou, Scott P. Kelly, Juan P. Ianowski, Chris M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The electrophysiological and ion-transporting properties of cultured gill epithelia from freshwater (FW) rainbow trout were examined in the presence of cortisol and prolactin as media supplements. Epithelia were of the double-seeded insert (DSI) type containing both pavement cells (PVCs) and mitochondria-rich cells (MRCs) and were grown in Leibovitz's L15 media on filters allowing exposure to different apical media conditions. Experiments were carried out in two series after 7-9 days symmetrical (L15 apical-L15 basolateral) culture. In both series, 100% L15 was maintained as the basolateral medium throughout and supplemented with physiologically relevant doses of either prolactin (50 ng/ml), cortisol (500 ng/ml), or cortisol + prolactin (500 + 50 ng/ml, respectively). In series 1, epithelia were exposed to progressively diluted apical media (100, 75, 50, 25, 12.5% L15, and FW) at 24-h intervals. The preparations retained integrity [high transepithelial resistance (TER); low ion efflux rates] during this prolonged dilution protocol. Cortisol, or cortisol + prolactin, resulted in a greater TER and reduced ion efflux rates during dilution, likely an effect on junctional permeability of PVCs, but did not promote active Na+ and Cl- uptake from apical FW. In series 2, epithelia were directly exposed to apical FW and ion fluxes measured over the first 6 h. Under these conditions, cortisol or cortisol + prolactin promoted active uptake of both Na+ and Cl - simultaneously from apical FW, probably attributable to actions on the MRCs. However, Na+-K+-ATPase activities were not significantly altered by any of the treatments in either series. Overall, prolactin alone did not appear to promote FW adaptation but exhibited synergism with cortisol. These results provide further support for the cultured DSI epithelium as an in vitro model for ion transport in FW fish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1305-R1316
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6 54-6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Double-seeded insert
  • Epithelial cell culture
  • Mitochondria-rich cells
  • Pavement cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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