Physiology of the developing kidney: Potassium homeostasis and its disorder

Lisa M. Satlin, Detlef Bockenhauer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Potassium is the most abundant intracellular cation. Approximately 98 % of the total body potassium content is located within cells, primarily muscle, where its concentration ranges from 100 to 150 mEq/l; the remaining 2 % resides in the extracellular fluid, where the potassium concentration is tightly regulated within a narrow range (3.5–5.0 mEq/l in the adult). The ratio of the intra- to extracellular potassium concentration determines, in large part, the resting membrane potential and is thus critical for normal function of electrically excitable cells, including nerve and muscle. Maintenance of a high intracellular potassium concentration is essential for many cellular processes, including DNA and protein synthesis, cell growth and apoptosis, mitochondrial enzyme function, and conservation of cell volume and pH [1–7]. Because of the many vital processes dependent on potassium homeostasis, multiple complex and efficient mechanisms have developed to regulate the internal distribution of potassium between the intra- and extracellular compartments and the external balance between intake and excretion by the kidney and GI tract.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPediatric Nephrology, Seventh Edition
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9783662435960
ISBN (Print)9783662435953
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


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