Potassium secretion by nasal salt glands of desert lizard Sauromalus obesus

T. J. Shuttleworth, J. L. Thompson, W. H. Dantzler

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9 Scopus citations


Potassium secretion by the nasal salt glands of the herbivorous desert lizard Sauromalus obesus was determined in vivo by a new technique. Intraperitoneal injection of KCl rapidly increased the potassium secretion rate from 0.28 to 15.35 μmol·100g-1·h-1. A second identical intraperitoneal injection, given 15 h after the first, further increased potassium secretion to 50.09 μmol·100 g-1·h-1. This was associated with a doubling of plasma K+ concentration and salt gland Na+-K+-adenosinetriphosphatase (ATPase) activity. Neither salt gland weight or residual (Mg2+) ATPase activity were affected. In an isolated perfused head preparation, potassium secretion from the nosal salt glands was stimulated from 0.99 to 10.76 μmol·100 g-1·h-1 by methacholine and to 14.68 μmol·100 g-1·h-1 by forskolin. In this perfused preparation, simultaneous determination of salt gland perfusion flow (using radiolabeled microspheres) and the rate of potassium secretion revealed that the secreting glands removed 68% of the perfusing potassium ions. Calculations indicated that secretion at the maximal rate observed in vivo would necessitate a fourfold increase in the rate of blood flow to the gland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R83-R90
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1 (22/1)
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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