Homeostasis of inorganic phosphate (P(i)) and sulphate (Si) is largely achieved by absorption in the mammalian small intestine and by reabsorption in the proximal tubule of the kidney. Under normal physiological conditions, the kidney appears to play the major role in maintaining the extracellular concentration of these anions. In both epithelia, reabsorption of P(i) and to some extent also of Si underlie a variety of regulatory acute and chronic control mechanisms. Acute regulatory mechanisms are predominantly found in renal P(i) reabsorption, whereas chronic regulation of transepithelial P(i) transport is observed in both tissues. Also, in both epithelia, apically located sodium-dependent transport systems (Na+/P(i) and Na+/Si symport) represent major targets for known regulatory factors. By expression cloning using oocytes of Xenopus laevis, renal and small intestinal Na(+)-dependent phosphate and sulphate transport systems have been identified. Evidence has been obtained that cloned Na+/P(i) and Na+/Si symporters are localized in the apical membrane of proximal tubular or small intestinal epithelial cells respectively. Furthermore, recent results indicate that one of the cloned Na+/P(i) symporters is involved in the physiological and pathophysiological regulation of proximal tubular P(i) reabsorption.

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