Background: The epithelium lining the epididymis provides an optimal acidic fluid microenvironment in the epididymal tract that enable spermatozoa to complete the maturation process. The present study aims to investigate the functional role of Na +/HCO 3- cotransporter in the pH regulation in rat epididymis. Method/Principal Findings: Immunofluorescence staining of pan cytokeratin in the primary culture of rat caput epididymal epithelium showed that the system was a suitable model for investigating the function of epididymal epithelium. Intracellular and apical pH were measured using the fluorescent pH sensitive probe carboxy-seminaphthorhodafluor-4F acetoxymethyl ester (SNARF-4F) and sparklet pH electrode respectively to explore the functional role of rat epididymal epithelium. In the HEPES buffered Krebs-Henseleit(KH) solution, the intracellular pH (pHi) recovery from NH 4Cl induced acidification in the cultured caput epididymal epithelium was completely inhibited by amiloride, the inhibitor of Na +/H + exchanger (NHE). Immediately changing of the KH solution from HEPES buffered to HCO 3- buffered would cause another pHi recovery. The pHi recovery in HCO 3- buffered KH solution was inhibited by 4, 4diisothiocyanatostilbene-2, 2-disulfonic acid (DIDS), the inhibitor of HCO 3- transporter or by removal of extracellular Na +. The extracellular pH measurement showed that the apical pH would increase when adding DIDS to the apical side of epididymal epithelial monolayer, however adding DIDS to the basolateral side had no effect on apical pH. Conclusions: The present study shows that sodium coupled bicarbonate influx regulates intracellular and apical pH in cultured caput epididymal epithelium.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)