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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2002 Apr;282(4):L631-41.

Glucocorticoid-stimulated lung epithelial Na(+) transport is associated with regulated ENaC and sgk1 expression.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa College of Medicine, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


H441 cells, a bronchiolar epithelial cell line, develop a glucocorticoid-regulated amiloride-sensitive Na(+) transport pathway on permeable supports (R. Sayegh, S. D. Auerbach, X. Li, R. Loftus, R. Husted, J. B. Stokes, and C. P. Thomas. J Biol Chem 274: 12431-12437, 1999). To understand its molecular basis, we examined the effect of glucocorticoids (GC) on epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC)-alpha, -beta, and -gamma and sgk1 expression and determined the biophysical properties of Na(+) channels in these cells. GC stimulated the expression of ENac-alpha, -beta, and -gamma and sgk1 mRNA, with the first effect seen by 1 h. These effects were abolished by actinomycin D, but not by cycloheximide, indicating a direct stimulatory effect on ENaC and sgk1 mRNA synthesis. The GC effect on transcription of ENaC-alpha mRNA was accompanied by a significant increase in ENaC-alpha protein levels. GC also stimulated ENaC-alpha, -beta, and -gamma and sgk1 mRNA expression in A549 cells, an alveolar type II cell line. To determine the biophysical properties of the Na(+) channel, single-channel currents were recorded from cell-attached H441 membranes. An Na(+)-selective channel with slow kinetics and a slope conductance of 10.8 pS was noted, properties similar to ENaC-alpha, -beta, and -gamma expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. These experiments indicate that amiloride-sensitive Na(+) transport is mediated through classic ENaC channels in human lung epithelia and that GC-regulated Na(+) transport is accompanied by increased transcription of each of the component subunits and sgk1.

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