The conductive (net) anion permeability of human red blood cells was determined from net KCl or K2SO4 effluxes into low K+ media at high valinomycin concentrations, conditions under which the salt efflux is limited primarily by the net anion permeability. Disulfonic stilbenes, inhibitors of anion exchange, also inhibited KCl or K2SO4 efflux under these conditions, but were less effective at lower valinomycin concentrations where K+ permeability is the primary limiting factor. Various concentrations of 4,4'-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2'-disulfonate (DIDS) had similar inhibitory effects on net and exchange sulfate fluxes, both of which were almost completely DIDS sensitive. In the case of Cl-, a high correlation was also found between inhibition of net and exchange fluxes, but in this case about 35% of the net flux was insensitive to DIDS. The net and exchange transport processes differed strikingly in their anion selectivity. Net chloride permeability was only four times as high as net sulfate permeability, whereas chloride exchange is over 10,000 times faster than sulfate exchange. Net OH-permeability, determined by an analogous method, was over four orders of magnitude larger than that of Cl-, but was also sensitive to DIDS. These data and others are discussed in terms of the possibility that a common element may be involved in both net and exchange anion transport.

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