Microelectrode techniques were employed to measure membrane potentials, the electrical resistance of the cell membranes, and the shunt pathway, and to compute the equivalent electromotive forces (EMF) at both cell borders in toad urinary bladder epithelium before and after reductions in mucosal sodium concentration. Basal electrical parameters were not significantly different from those obtained with impalements from the serosal side, indicating that mucosal impalements do not produce significant leaks in the apical membrane. A decrease in mucosal Na concentration caused the cellular resistance to increase and both apical and basolateral EMF to depolarize. When Na was reduced from 112 to 2.4 mM in bladders with spontaneously different baseline values of transepithelial potential difference (Vms), a direct relationship was found between the change in Vms brought about by the Na reduction and the base-line Vms before the change. A direct relationship was also found by plotting the change in EMF at the apical or basolateral border caused by a mucosal Na reduction with the corresponding base-line EMF before the change. These results indicate that resting apical membrane EMF (and, therefore, resting apical membrane potential) is determined by the Na selectivity of the apical membrane, whereas basolateral EMF is at least in part the result of rheogenic Na transport. These results are consistent with data of others that suggested a link between the activity of the basolateral Na pump and apical Na conductance.

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