Gill Morphology and Acid-Base Regulation in Freshwater Fishes
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This review examines the recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of ion transport and acid-base regulation in the freshwater fish gill. The application of a combination of morphological, immunocytochemical and biochemical techniques has yielded considerable insight into the field. An important mechanism for regulation of Cl- uptake/base excretion is by morphological modification of the gill epithelium. During acidosis, the chloride cell associated Cl-/HCO3- exchanger is effectively removed from the apical epithelium because of a covering by adjacent pavement cells; this mechanism reduces base excretion and contributes to the compensation of the acidosis. In addition, acidosis induces changes in both the surface structure and ultrastructure of pavement cells. Evidence is accumulating to support the hypothesis that Na+ uptake/H+ excretion is accomplished by the pavement cell. Further, specific localization of a V-type H+-ATPase on the pavement cell epithelium and an increased expression during acidosis provides support for the model originally proposed, that this exchange is accomplished by an electrochemically coupled H+-ATPase/Na+ channel mechanism.
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