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The effects of increased hydrostatic pressure on Na+ x H+ exchange activity in bovine articular chondrocytes have been characterized. Chondrocytes were isolated from the cartilage matrix and the cells were loaded with the pH-sensitive fluorophore BCECF. Cells were acidified by ammonium rebound and the rate of recovery of pHi back to control levels was determined using cuvette fluorimetry. The application of hydrostatic pressure (1-300 atm) to cells within the fluorimeter was found to stimulate the rate of recovery from acidification, recorded as proton fluxes, in MOPS buffered media. This increase was dependent on the presence of extracellular Na+ ions and was inhibited by the Na+ x H+ exchange inhibitor EIPA. The pressure-stimulated increase in H+ flux is therefore mediated completely by Na+ x H+ exchange. In addition, the stimulation could be abolished by the kinase inhibitor staurosporine, was not additive with the stimulation of Na+ x H+ exchange elicited by the addition of serum and was unaffected by low concentrations of the myosin light chain kinase inhibitor ML-7. We therefore conclude that hydrostatic pressure activates Na+ x H+ exchange in this cell type by a pathway which involves direct phosphorylation of the transporter protein itself. This is the first demonstration of the activation of Na+ x H+ exchange by hydrostatic pressure and the relevance of this finding to the biology of cartilage tissue is discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Acta Physiol Scand

Publication Date





39 - 45


Acid-Base Equilibrium, Acids, Ammonium Chloride, Animals, Azepines, Biological Transport, Cartilage, Articular, Cattle, Cells, Cultured, Chondrocytes, Enzyme Inhibitors, Fluoresceins, Fluorescent Dyes, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Hydrostatic Pressure, Naphthalenes, Protons, Sodium, Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers, Staurosporine