The prevailing view is that the ClC-Ka chloride channel (mouse Clc-k1) functions in the thin ascending limb to control urine concentration, whereas the ClC-Kb channel (mouse Clc-k2) functions in the thick ascending limb (TAL) to control salt reabsorption. Mutations of ClC-Kb cause classic Bartter syndrome, characterized by renal salt wasting, with perinatal to adolescent onset. We studied the roles of Clc-k channels in perinatal mouse kidneys using constitutive or inducible kidney-specific gene ablation and 2D and advanced 3D imaging of optically cleared kidneys. We show that Clc-k1 and Clc-k2 were broadly expressed and colocalized in perinatal kidneys. Deletion of Clc-k1 and Clc-k2 revealed that both participated in NKCC2- and NCC-mediated NaCl reabsorption in neonatal kidneys. Embryonic deletion of Clc-k2 caused tubular injury and impaired renal medulla and TAL development. Inducible deletion of Clc-k2 beginning after medulla maturation produced mild salt wasting resulting from reduced NCC activity. Thus, both Clc-k1 and Clc-k2 contributed to salt reabsorption in TAL and distal convoluted tubule (DCT) in neonates, potentially explaining the less-severe phenotypes in classic Bartter syndrome. As opposed to the current understanding that salt wasting in adult patients with Bartter syndrome is due to Clc-k2 deficiency in adult TAL, our results suggest that it originates mainly from defects occurring in the medulla and TAL during development.
Meng-Hsuan Lin, Jen-Chi Chen, Xuejiao Tian, Chia-Ming Lee, I-Shing Yu, Yi-Fen Lo, Shinichi Uchida, Chou-Long Huang, Bi-Chang Chen, Chih-Jen Cheng