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Research Article

Potential, Current, and Ionic Fluxes across the Isolated Retinal Pigment Epithelium and Choroid


A flux chamber was utilized for in vitro studies of a membrane formed by the retinal pigment epithelium and choroid of the eye of the toad (Bufo arenarum and Bufo marinus). A transmembrane potential of 20 to 30 mv was found, the pigment epithelium surface positive with respect to the choroidal surface. Unidirectional fluxes of chloride, sodium, potassium, and calcium were determined in the absence of an electrochemical potential difference. A net transfer of chloride from pigment epithelium to choroid accounted for a major fraction of the mean short-circuit current. A small net flux of sodium from choroid to pigment epithelium was detected in Bufo marinus. In both species of toads, however, about one-third of the mean short-circuit current remained unaccounted for. Manometric determinations of bicarbonate suggested an uptake of this ion at the epithelial surface of the membrane but did not provide evidence of a relationship between this process and the short-circuit current.