Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nature. 1999 Nov 18;402(6759):301-4.

Activation of the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) requires CFTR Cl- channel function.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, La Jolla 92093-0831, USA.


It is increasingly being recognized that cells coordinate the activity of separate ion channels that allow electrolytes into the cell. However, a perplexing problem in channel regulation has arisen in the fatal genetic disease cystic fibrosis, which results from the loss of a specific Cl- channel (the CFTR channel) in epithelial cell membranes. Although this defect clearly inhibits the absorption of Na+ in sweat glands, it is widely accepted that Na+ absorption is abnormally elevated in defective airways in cystic fibrosis. The only frequently cited explanation for this hypertransport is that the activity of an epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) is inversely related to the activity of the CFTR Cl- channel. However, we report here that, in freshly isolated normal sweat ducts, ENaC activity is dependent on, and increases with, CFTR activity. Surprisingly, we also find that the primary defect in Cl- permeability in cystic fibrosis is accompanied secondarily by a Na+ conductance in this tissue that cannot be activated. Thus, reduced salt absorption in cystic fibrosis is due not only to poor Cl- conductance but also to poor Na+ conductance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk