Chez le rat, la morphologie des cellules en aval de l’anse de Henlé est modifiée lorsque l’animal est placé dans une situation physiologique où la réabsorption des bicarbonates est accrue. L’indice intercalaire ou nombre de cellules par section du tube distal ou de la portion corticale du collecteur augmente après administration per os de 3,45 mM de Na H CO3, de K H CO3 et de N H4 CO3 et à un moindre degré après charge osmotique. L’acétazolamide empèche l’effet du Na H CO3. L’acidose gazeuse provoque un accroissement deux fois plus important encore de l’indice intercalaire. En outre, toutes les cellules claires sont modifiées, prenant certains caractères des cellules intercalaires. On en conclut que cellules claires et intercalaires ne sont que deux aspects fonctionnels d’une même lignée et que les changements morphologiques constatés correspondent à l’augmentation de la «réabsorption» des bicarbonates. Ainsi est établie une corrélation précise entre une fonction et un changement dans la morphologie des cellules tubulaires.

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