The stoichiometry of pump-mediated Na/K exchange was studied in isolated epithelial sheets of frog skin. 42K influx across basolateral membranes was measured with tissues in a steady state and incubated in either beakers or in chambers. The short-circuit current provided estimates of Na+ influx at the apical membranes of the cells. 42K influx of tissues bathed in Cl- or SO4-Ringer solution averaged approximately 8 microA/cm2. Ouabain inhibited 94% of the 42K influx. Furosemide was without effect on pre-ouabain-treated tissues but inhibited a ouabain-induced and Cl--dependent component of 42K influx. After taking into account the contribution of the Na+ load to the pump by way of basolateral membrane recycling of Na+, the stoichiometry was found to increase from approximately 2 to 6 as the pump-mediated Na+ transport rate increased from 10 to 70 microA/cm2. Extrapolation of the data to low rates of Na+ transport (less than 10 microA/cm2) indicated that the stoichiometry would be in the vicinity of 3:2. As pump-mediated K+ influx saturates with increasing rates of Na+ transport, Na+ efflux cannot be obligatorily coupled to K+ influx at all rates of transepithelial Na+ transport. These results are similar to those of Mullins and Brinley (1969. Journal of General Physiology. 53:504-740) in studies of the squid axon.

This content is only available as a PDF.