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Electrogenic transport and K(+) ion channel expression by the human endolymphatic sac epithelium.

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The endolymphatic sac (ES) is a cystic organ that is a part of the inner ear and is connected to the cochlea and vestibule. The ES is thought to be involved in inner ear ion homeostasis and fluid volume regulation for the maintenance of hearing and balance function. Many ion channels, transporters, and exchangers have been identified in the ES luminal epithelium, mainly in animal studies, but there has been no functional study investigating ion transport using human ES tissue. We designed the first functional experiments on electrogenic transport in human ES and investigated the contribution of K(+) channels in the electrogenic transport, which has been rarely identified, even in animal studies, using electrophysiological/pharmacological and molecular biological methods. As a result, we identified functional and molecular evidence for the essential participation of K(+) channels in the electrogenic transport of human ES epithelium. The identified K(+) channels involved in the electrogenic transport were KCNN2, KCNJ14, KCNK2, and KCNK6, and the K(+) transports via those channels are thought to play an important role in the maintenance of the unique ionic milieu of the inner ear fluid.

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