Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Taurine 4: Taurine and Excitable Tissues, vol. 483 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, pp. 219–225; doi: 10.1007/0-306-46838-7_24.


Copyright © 2000 Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. Used by permission.


Cell volume regulation is a property present in most animal cell lineages that allows them to recover their original volume after events of swelling or shrinkage. Such events can be caused by changes in external osmolarity or to osmotic gradients generated during normal cell functioning.4,6 The mechanism of cell volume regulation involves transmembrane fluxes of osmotically active solutes in the necessary direction to counteract the net gain or loss of intracellular water.9 The process through which cells recover their normal volume after swelling is named Regulatory Volume Decrease (RVD). This consists of the efflux of inorganic osmolytes, such as K+ and Cl, as well as organic compounds such as free amino acids, methyl amines, and polyalcohols. These movements create a new osmotic gradient that leads to water efflux and volume recovery.