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Br J Pharmacol. 1999 Sep;128(1):227-33.

Differential sensitivity of normal and cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells to epinephrine.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute, Gene Therapy Core Center, and Cystic Fibrosis Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, California, CA 94143, USA.


1. Exposure to epinephrine has been shown to have a range of effects on cells and tissues. A recent study suggested that the proliferative ability of CF epithelial cells, exposed to high concentrations of epinephrine (200 - 300 microM), was reduced when compared to that of normal cells. This approach could potentially provide a means to effectively separate cells with functional cyclic AMP-dependent Cl-ion transport from those defective in this pathway. 2. The sensitivity to killing by epinephrine is reported here for four different CF cell lines, three normal cell lines, and two CF epithelial cell lines complemented with wild-type (wt) CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) cDNA. 3. While each cell line exhibited varying sensitivity to 200 microM epinephrine, no predictable pattern was observed between the expression of wt-CFTR and cell survival following epinephrine exposure. Overall, normal cell lines did exhibit a greater resistance to epinephrine-induced cell death although, the most resistant cell line was derived from CF tracheal epithelium (SigmaCFTE29o-). 4. The expression of exogenous wt-CFTR increased the survival of one cell line (CFDEo-) when compared to the parent line, but in another complemented line, survival was reduced. 5. These findings suggest that while epinephrine induces cell killing, it is not consistently effective for preferential selection of normal over CF cells. Although CFTR may play a role in the mechanism(s) of epinephrine killing, other factors such as cell density, proliferative ability, cell type origin and phenotype are involved.

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