Tetraethylammonium transport by OK cells

T. D. McKinney, M. B. Scheller, M. Hosford, J. A. McAteer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Mechanisms exist in renal proximal tubules for the mediated transepithelial secretion or reabsorption of endogenous and exogenous organic cations. In the studies presented here, the uptake of the organic cation tetraethylammonium (TEA) into confluent monolayers of opossum kidney cells was evaluated to determine if these cells might serve as an in vitro model of this transport pathway. 3H-TEA entered opossum kidney cells in a time-dependent manner. Uptake at early time points was saturable with an apparent Km of 59.1 ± 11.2 μM and a Vmax of 1,292 ± 210 fmol/μg of DNA. TEA uptake was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by several other organic cations including amiloride, cimetidine, verapamil, procainamide, quinidine and N1-methylnicotinamide. With 1 mM concentrations of these compounds, uptake was virtually eliminated. However, another organic cation, N'-methylnicotinamide caused only minimal inhibition. TEA uptake was significantly reduced by sodium azide, suggesting dependence on oxidative phosphorylation. An alkaline medium pH enhanced TEA uptake, but, at the same pH, uptake was similar in the presence or absence of bicarbonate. When cellular pH was altered by ammonium chloride addition or removal, TEA uptake was not affected. Thus, organic cation/proton exchange, as has been demonstrated previously in apical membrane vesicles prepared from proximal tubules, is evidently not responsible for TEA uptake. Similarly, uptake does not appear to result from organic cation/organic cation exchange. These results indicate that the plasma membrane of opossum kidney cells contains a transport system(s) for the mediated uptake of organic cations and that these cells may be a useful mode for further study of renal epithelial transport of these solutes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-909
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1990


  • Drug disposition
  • OK cells
  • Organic ions
  • Renal epithelia
  • Tissue culture
  • Tubular secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Tetraethylammonium transport by OK cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this