XB-ART-52894J Physiol April 15, 2017; 595 (8): 2569-2585.
Bicarbonate sensing in mouse cortical astrocytes during extracellular acid/base disturbances.
The present study suggests that the electrogenic sodium-bicarbonate cotransporter, NBCe1, supported by carbonic anhydrase II, CAII, provides an efficient mechanism of bicarbonate sensing in cortical astrocytes. This mechanism is proposed to play a major role in setting the pHi responses to extracellular acid/base challenges in astrocytes. A decrease in extracellular [HCO3(-) ] during isocapnic acidosis and isohydric hypocapnia, or an increase in intracellular [HCO3(-) ] during hypercapnic acidosis, was effectively sensed by NBCe1, which carried bicarbonate out of the cells under these conditions, and caused an acidification and sodium fall in WT astrocytes, but not in NBCe1-knockout astrocytes. Isocapnic acidosis, hypercapnic acidosis and isohydric hypocapnia evoked inward currents in NBCe1- and CAII-expressing Xenopus laevis oocytes, but not in native oocytes, suggesting that NBCe1 operates in the outwardly directed mode under these conditions consistent with our findings in astrocytes. We propose that bicarbonate sensing of astrocytes may have functional significance during extracellular acid/base disturbances in the brain, as it not only alters intracellular pH/[HCO3(-) ]-dependent functions of astrocytes, but also modulates the extracellular pH/[HCO3(-) ] in brain tissue. Extracellular acid/base status of the mammalian brain undergoes dynamic changes during many physiological and pathological events. Although intracellular pH (pHi ) of astrocytes responds to extracellular acid/base changes, the mechanisms mediating these changes have remained unresolved. We have previously shown that the electrogenic sodium-bicarbonate cotransporter, NBCe1, is a high-affinity bicarbonate carrier in cortical astrocytes. In the present study, we investigated whether NBCe1 plays a role in bicarbonate sensing in astrocytes, and in determining the pHi responses to extracellular acid/base challenges. We measured changes in intracellular H(+) and Na(+) in astrocytes from wild-type (WT) and from NBCe1-knockout (KO) mice, using ion-selective dyes, during isocapnic acidosis, hypercapnic acidosis and hypocapnia. We also analysed NBCe1-mediated membrane currents in Xenopus laevis oocytes under similar conditions. Comparing WT and NBCe1-KO astrocytes, we could dissect the contribution of NBCe1, of diffusion of CO2 across the cell membrane and, after blocking carbonic anhydrase (CA) activity with ethoxyzolamide, of the role of CA, for the amplitude and rate of acid/base fluxes. Our results suggest that NBCe1 transport activity in astrocytes, supported by CA activity, renders astrocytes bicarbonate sensors in the mouse cortex. NBCe1 carried bicarbonate into and out of the cell by sensing the variations of transmembrane [HCO3(-) ], irrespective of the changes in intra- and extracellular pH, and played a major role in setting pHi responses to the extracellular acid/base challenges. We propose that bicarbonate sensing of astrocytes may have potential functional significance during extracellular acid/base alterations in the brain.
PubMed ID: 27981578
PMC ID: PMC5390880
Article link: J Physiol