Electrogenic Glucose Linked Na Transfer

Because SGLT cotransporters carry both glucose and Na+ ions across the cell membrane without counterions, movement of the charged Na+ ions creates an electrical potential difference across the cell membrane and subsequently across the epithelium. The transfer of glucose (or galactose) across the intestine or kidney tubule is called electrogenic (potential generating) or rheogenic (current generating). This electrical activity has been of inestimable value in the assessment of the kinetics of active hexose transport in native tissues and injected Xenopus eggs. This linking of the electrogenic Na + ion transfer with the hexose also enhances the net absorption of fluid across the small intestine. It is so effective that it overcomes the terrible excessive fluid secretory consequences of cholera toxin action in the small bowel and is a highly effective and cheap treatment to keep patients hydrated and alive. A simple solution of NaCl and glucose (or even rice water) has probably saved more lives than any drug!

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