The Ontogeny of Sugar Transport in Kidney

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Concentrative uptake of α-methyl-D-glucoside (AMG) by isolated renal tubule fragments from the newborn Sprague-Dawley rat has been demonstrated and the validity of this phenomenon confirmed by an in vivo demonstration of AMG uptake by the newborn kidney cortex. A kinetic analysis of the entry phenomenon in the newborn tubule reveals the presence of two distinct membrane transport systems for AMG, only one of which is present in the adult tubule. All transport of sugar in both newborn and adult tubules was phlorizin-sensitive, but was only partially inhibited in Na+-free buffer. Glucose was shown to inhibit uptake competitively on the shared, high capacity system. Uptake on the high affinity system in the newborn represents 15-20% of the total at physiologic sugar concentrations. It is concluded that active sugar transport is a characteristic of the newborn rat kidney and that the isolated tubule preparation is a more accurate reflection of this phenomenon than is the renal cortical slice.


The presence of a unique high affinity glucose transport system in newborn renal tubules in addition to the lower affinity system also found in the adult enables the anatomically immature kidney to efficiently reclaim sugar from the glomerular filtrate and, thus, to prevent loss of calorically valuable nutrients in the promotion of growth.

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