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Cystic fibrosis in the kidney: new lessons from impaired renal HCO3- excretion

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: A key role of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) in the kidney has recently been uncovered. This needs to be integrated into the understanding of the developed phenotypes in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.

RECENT FINDINGS: In the beta-intercalated cells of the collecting duct , CFTR functions in very similar terms as established in the exocrine pancreatic duct and both CFTR and SLC26A4 (pendrin) orchestrate regulated HCO3- secretion. Like in the pancreas, the hormone secretin is a key agonist to activate renal HCO3- secretion. In mice lacking CFTR or pendrin, acute and chronic base challenges trigger marked metabolic alkalosis because collecting duct base secretion is defective. Also in CF patients, the ability to acutely increase renal HCO3- excretion is markedly reduced.

SUMMARY: The now much enlarged understanding of CFTR in the kidney may permit the measurement of challenged urine HCO3- excretion as a new biomarker for CF. We suggest a new explanation for the electrolyte disorder in CF termed Pseudo-Bartter Syndrome. The hallmark electrolyte disturbance features of this can be well explained by a reduced function of collecting duct Cl-/HCO3- exchange. Eventually, we suggest the diagnostic term distal renal tubular alkalosis to cover those disturbances that causes metabolic alkalosis by a reduced collecting duct base secretion.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Nephrology & Hypertension
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Animals, Bicarbonates/metabolism, Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator/genetics, Cystic Fibrosis/metabolism, Humans, Kidney/metabolism, Mice, Renal Elimination, Sulfate Transporters/metabolism

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