The general purpose of this theoretical work is to contribute to understand the physiological role of the electrogenic properties of the sodium pump, by studying a dynamic model that integrates diverse processes of ionic and water transport across the plasma membrane. For this purpose, we employ a mathematical model that describes the rate of change of the intracellular concentrations of Na+, K+ and Cl−, of the cell volume, and of the plasma membrane potential (V m ). We consider the case of a nonexcitable, nonpolarized cell expressing the sodium pump; Na+, K+, Cl− and water channels, and cotransporters of KCl and NaCl in its plasma membrane. We particularly analyze here the conditions under which the physiological V m can be generated in a predominantly electrogenic fashion, as a result of the activity of the sodium pump. A major conclusion of this study is that, for the cell model considered, a low potassium permeability is not a sufficient condition for a predominantly electrogenic generation of the V m by the sodium pump. The presence of an electroneutral exchange of Na+ and K+ represents a necessary additional requirement.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 1, 2000
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