Scientific Reports (Jun 2017)

Raman micro-spectroscopy as a viable tool to monitor and estimate the ionic transport in epithelial cells

  • Leonardo Puppulin,
  • Giuseppe Pezzotti,
  • Hongxin Sun,
  • Shigekuni Hosogi,
  • Takashi Nakahari,
  • Toshio Inui,
  • Yasuaki Kumamoto,
  • Hideo Tanaka,
  • Yoshinori Marunaka

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 1
pp. 1 – 11


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Abstract The typical response to the lowering of plasma Na+ concentration and blood pressure in our body involves the release of aldosterone from the adrenal glands, which triggers the reabsorption of sodium in the kidney. Although the effects of aldosterone on this physiological mechanism were extensively studied in the past decades, there are still some aspects to be fully elucidated. In the present study, we propose for the first time a new approach based on Raman spectroscopy to monitor the ionic activity in aldosterone-treated A6 renal epithelial cells. This spectroscopic technique is capable of probing the cells through their thickness in a non-destructive and nimble way. The spectroscopic variations of the Raman bands associated to the O-H stretching of water were correlated to the variations of ionic concentration in the intracellular and extracellular fluids. The increase of Na+ concentration gradients was clearly visualized in the cytosol of aldosterone-treated cells. The enhancement of the Na+ current density induced by aldosterone was estimated from the variation of the ionic chemical potential across the intracellular space. In addition, the variation of the O-H Raman bands of water was used to quantify the cell thickness, which was not affected by aldosterone.