A New Understanding of Potassium's Influence Upon Human Health and Renal Physiology.
Advances in Kidney Disease and Health
Potassium channels are expressed in virtually all cell types, and their activity is the dominant determinant of cellular membrane potential. As such, potassium flux is a key regulator of many cellular processes including the regulation of action potentials in excitable cells. Subtle changes in extracellular potassium can initiate signaling processes vital for survival (insulin signaling) while more extreme and chronic changes may lead to pathological states (acid-base disturbances and cardiac arrhythmia). While many factors acutely influence extracellular potassium levels, it is principally the role of the kidneys to maintain potassium balance by matching urinary excretion with dietary intake. When this balance is disrupted, human health is negatively impacted. In this review, we discuss evolving views of dietary potassium intake as means of preventing and mitigating diseases. We also provide an update on a molecular pathway called the potassium switch, a mechanism by which extracellular potassium regulates distal nephron sodium reabsorption. Finally, we review recent literature describing how several popular therapeutics influence potassium homeostasis.
McCormick JA, Topf J, Tomacruz ID, Grimm PR. A new understanding of potassium's influence upon human health and renal physiology. Adv Kidney Dis Health. 2023 Mar;30(2):137-147. doi: 10.1053/j.akdh.2023.01.001. PMID: 36868729.