This review focuses on the most recent advances in the understanding of the electrolyte transport-relatedmechanisms important for the development of severe inherited renal disorders, autosomal dominant (AD) and recessive (AR) forms of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). We provide here a basic overview of the origins and clinical aspects of ARPKD and ADPKD and discuss the implications of electrolyte transport in cystogenesis. Special attention is devoted to intracellular calcium handling by the cystic cells, with a focus on polycystins and fibrocystin, as well as other calcium level regulators, such as transient receptor potential vanilloid type 4 (TRPV4) channels, ciliary machinery, and purinergic receptor remodeling. Sodium transport is reviewed with a focus on the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), and the role of chloride-dependent fluid secretion in cystic fluid accumulation is discussed. In addition, we highlight the emerging promising concepts in the field, such as potassium transport, and suggest some new avenues for research related to electrolyte handling.
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