Zebrafish (Danio rerio
) have become an important model for integrative physiological research. Zebrafish inhabit a hypo-osmotic environment; to maintain ionic and acid-base homeostasis, they must actively take up ions and secrete acid to the water. The gills in the adult and the skin at larval stage are the primary sites of ionic regulation in zebrafish. The uptake of ions in zebrafish is mediated by specific ion transporting cells termed ionocytes. Similarly, in mammals, ion reabsorption and acid excretion occur in specific cell types in the terminal region of the renal tubules (distal convoluted tubule and collecting duct). Previous studies have suggested that functional regulation of several ion transporters/channels in the zebrafish ionocytes resembles that in the mammalian renal cells. Additionally, several mechanisms involved in regulating the epithelial ion transport during metabolic acidosis are found to be similar between zebrafish and mammals. In this article, we systemically review the similarities and differences in ionic regulation between zebrafish and mammals during metabolic acidosis. We summarize the available information on the regulation of epithelial ion transporters during acidosis, with a focus on epithelial Na+
transporters in zebrafish ionocytes and mammalian renal cells. We also discuss the neuroendocrine responses to acid exposure, and their potential role in ionic compensation. Finally, we identify several knowledge gaps that would benefit from further study.
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