An experimental, hands-on approach to epithelial ion transport

A simple technique for introducing students to ion transport in epithelia

Authors

  • Andrea Bagdadi,

    1. Centro de Estudios en Salud y Medio Ambiente (CESyMA), Escuela de Ciencia y Tecnología (ECyT), Universidad Nacional de Gral. San Martín (UNSAM), San Martín, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nadia Orona,

    1. Centro de Estudios en Salud y Medio Ambiente (CESyMA), Escuela de Ciencia y Tecnología (ECyT), Universidad Nacional de Gral. San Martín (UNSAM), San Martín, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Eugenio Fernández,

    1. Centro de Estudios en Salud y Medio Ambiente (CESyMA), Escuela de Ciencia y Tecnología (ECyT), Universidad Nacional de Gral. San Martín (UNSAM), San Martín, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Anibal Altamirano,

    1. Centro de Estudios en Salud y Medio Ambiente (CESyMA), Escuela de Ciencia y Tecnología (ECyT), Universidad Nacional de Gral. San Martín (UNSAM), San Martín, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Carlos Amorena

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro de Estudios en Salud y Medio Ambiente (CESyMA), Escuela de Ciencia y Tecnología (ECyT), Universidad Nacional de Gral. San Martín (UNSAM), San Martín, Argentina
    • Centro de Estudios en Salud y Medio Ambiente (CESyMA), Escuela de Ciencia y Tecnología (ECyT), Universidad Nacional de Gral. San Martín (UNSAM), San Martín, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Tel.: 5411-45807296 #105.


Abstract

We have realized that our Biology undergraduate students learn biological concepts as established truths without awareness of the body of experimental evidence supporting the emerging models as usually presented in handbooks and texts in general. Therefore, we have implemented a laboratory practice in our course of Physiology and Biophysics, aimed to introduce the students in the way the scientific models and theories are built, through the measurement of Na+ transport in frog skin. Transepithelial Na+ transport was assessed in the frog skin, with measurements of short circuit currents. The mucosal Na+ and serosal K+ concentrations were modified and the effects were recorded. These effects were reversible. Addition of a drug that blocks epithelial Na+ channels (amiloride) to the mucosal side solution abolished the short circuit current. Sodium fluxes were calculated, and the results were adjusted to Michaelis-Menten kinetics. The impact of the proposed practice on the students is discussed.

Ancillary