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FEBS Lett. 2004 Oct 22;576(3):339-42.

Thyroid hormone potentiates glucocorticoid-evoked airway Na+ transport without affecting alpha-ENaC transcription.

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  • 1Lung Membrane Transport Group, Division of Maternal and Child Health Sciences, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 9SY, Scotland, UK.


Glucocorticoid and thyroid hormones (T3) are important for the development of the lungs' Na+ absorbing phenotype, which is essential for the integrated functioning of the respiratory tract. Electrometric studies of H441 airway epithelial cells confirmed that dexamethasone increases apical Na+ conductance (GNa) and demonstrated that T3 facilitates this control over GNa. Assays of transcriptional activity showed that dexamethasone caused concentration-dependent activation of the human alpha-ENaC promoter (EC50 approximately 5 nM) but, despite its clear effect on GNa, T2 had no effect upon the transcriptional response to dexamethasone. The facilitation of Na+ transport may thus reflect control over events downstream to transcription.

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