Cellular magnesium acquisition : an anomaly in embryonic cation homeostasis

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Cation transporters
Effect of fluoride on metabolism
Early embryo homeostasis
Yolk ion partition
Ionic competition
Teleost embryos
Fundulus heteroclitus
Analytic methodology
The intracellular dominance of magnesium ion makes clinical assessment difficult despite the critical role of Mg++ in many key functions of cells and enzymes. There is general consensus that serum Mg++ levels are not representative of the growing number of conditions for which magnesium is known to be important. There is no consensus method or sample source for testing for clinical purposes. High intracellular Mg++ in vertebrate embryos results in part from interactions of cations which influence cell membrane transport systems. These are functionally competent from the earliest stages, at least transiently held over from the unfertilized ovum. Kinetic studies with radiotracer cations, osmolar variations, media lacking one or more of the four biological cations, Na+, Mg++, K+, and Ca++, and metabolic poison 0.05 mEq/L NaF, demonstrated: (1) all four cations influence the behavior of the others, and (2) energy is required for uptake and efflux on different time scales, some against gradient. Na+ uptake is energy dependent against an efflux gradient. The rate of K+ loss is equal with or without fluoride, suggesting a lack of an energy requirement at these stages. Ca++ efflux took twice as long in the presence of fluoride, likely due in part to intracellular binding. Mg++ is anomalous in that early teleost vertebrate embryos have an intracellular content exceeding the surrounding sea water, an isolated unaffected yolk compartment, and a clear requirement for energy for both uptake and efflux. The physiological, pathological, and therapeutic roles of magnesium are poorly understood. This will change: (1) when 28Mg is once again generally available at a reasonable cost for both basic research and clinical assessment, and (2) when serum or plasma levels are determined simultaneously with intracellular values, preferably as part of complete four cation profiles. Atomic absorption spectrophotometry, energy-dispersive x-ray analysis, and inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy on sublingual mucosal and peripheral blood samples are potential methods of value for coordinated assessments.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2007. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Experimental and Molecular Pathology 83 (2007): 224-240, doi:10.1016/j.yexmp.2007.03.007.
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