Modulation of outer medullary NaCl transport and oxygenation by nitric oxide and superoxide.
We expanded our region-based model of water and solute exchanges in the rat outer medulla to incorporate the transport of nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide (O(2)(-)) and to examine the impact of NO-O(2)(-) interactions on medullary thick ascending limb (mTAL) NaCl reabsorption and oxygen (O(2)) consumption, under both physiological and pathological conditions. Our results suggest that NaCl transport and the concentrating capacity of the outer medulla are substantially modulated by basal levels of NO and O(2)(-). Moreover, the effect of each solute on NaCl reabsorption cannot be considered in isolation, given the feedback loops resulting from three-way interactions between O(2), NO, and O(2)(-). Notwithstanding vasoactive effects, our model predicts that in the absence of O(2)(-)-mediated stimulation of NaCl active transport, the outer medullary concentrating capacity (evaluated as the collecting duct fluid osmolality at the outer-inner medullary junction) would be ∼40% lower. Conversely, without NO-induced inhibition of NaCl active transport, the outer medullary concentrating capacity would increase by ∼70%, but only if that anaerobic metabolism can provide up to half the maximal energy requirements of the outer medulla. The model suggests that in addition to scavenging NO, O(2)(-) modulates NO levels indirectly via its stimulation of mTAL metabolism, leading to reduction of O(2) as a substrate for NO. When O(2)(-) levels are raised 10-fold, as in hypertensive animals, mTAL NaCl reabsorption is significantly enhanced, even as the inefficient use of O(2) exacerbates hypoxia in the outer medulla. Conversely, an increase in tubular and vascular flows is predicted to substantially reduce mTAL NaCl reabsorption. In conclusion, our model suggests that the complex interactions between NO, O(2)(-), and O(2) significantly impact the O(2) balance and NaCl reabsorption in the outer medulla.
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