Fluid Transport and Tubular Intercellular Spaces in Reptilian Kidneys

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Science  08 Mar 1968:
Vol. 159, Issue 3819, pp. 1105-1108
DOI: 10.1126/science.159.3819.1105


Renal tubules of crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and turtles have intercellular spaces similar in type to those observed in the mammalian gall bladder, but different from those of mammalian renal tubules. The fluid movements across renal tubules of reptiles are correlated with the width of the tubular intercellular spaces. In the proximal tubules, where transport is always isosmotic, the spaces are open whenever the tubular epithelium is tranporting, but closed when no transport is taking place. In distal tubules, intercellular spaces are wide open when the osmolality of the urine is close to that of the blood, that is, when the fluid resorbed is almost isosmotic to the tubular fluid. The apical two-thirds of the intercellular spaces are closed when the urine is hypoosmotic. They are also closed when the tubules are not transporting, as in collapsed tubules or tubules poisoned with ouabain. Thus, as in the gall bladder, the open intercellular spaces appear to be found whenever there is fluid transport across the epithelium.