Glial swelling during extracellular acidosis in vitro.
Intracellular and extracellular acidosis may determine the ultimate outcome for brain tissue in cerebral ischemia. An extracellular acidosis that occurs in the penumbra zone was investigated in vitro as to its role in the formation of cytotoxic cell swelling. For that purpose, C6 glioma cells or primary cultured astrocytes were suspended in normal isotonic medium in normoxia during acidification to a final pH of 6.2. The cell volume response was determined by flow cytometry using hydrodynamic focusing, which allows one to recognize changes in cell size of less than 1%. A threshold pH of 6.8 was found that had to be crossed to induce cell swelling by acidosis. Once pH fell below this threshold, the increase in cell size appeared to be an all-or-nothing phenomenon. The cells rapidly assumed a final cell size of 115% of normal in the case of C6 glioma or of 118% in the case of primary cultured astrocytes independent of the actual level of acidosis or the duration of exposure. Acidosis-induced glial swelling could be significantly attenuated by 1) addition of amiloride, 2) administration of acetazolamide, or 3) replacement of bicarbonate buffer against N-2-hydroxyethylpiperazine-N'-2-ethanesulfonic acid (HEPES). Replacement of extracellular Na+ by choline chloride led to complete prevention of the acidosis-induced cell swelling. Taken together, the findings strongly indicate a central involvement of Na+/H+ and Cl-/HCO3- exchange mechanisms in the development of cell swelling under these conditions. Activation of the Na+/H+ antiporter can be considered an attempt to maintain a normal intracellular pH at the expense of an abnormal cell volume.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association