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J Physiol. 2003 Apr 1;548(Pt 1):203-18. Epub 2003 Jan 31.

Polarized distribution of HCO3- transport in human normal and cystic fibrosis nasal epithelia.

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Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7248, USA.


The polarized distribution of HCO3- transport was investigated in human nasal epithelial cells from normal and cystic fibrosis (CF) tissues. To test for HCO3- transport via conductive versus electroneutral Cl-/HCO3- exchange (anion exchange, AE) pathways, nasal cells were loaded with the pH probe 2',7'-bis(carboxyethyl)-5(6)-carboxyfluorescein and mounted in a bilateral perfusion chamber. In normal, but not CF, epithelia, replacing mucosal Cl- with gluconate caused intracellular pH (pHi) to increase, and the initial rates (Delta pH min-1) of this increase were modestly augmented (approximately 26 %) when normal cells were pretreated with forskolin (10 microM). Recovery from this alkaline shift was dependent on mucosal Cl-, was insensitive to the AE inhibitor 4,4'-diisothiocyanatodihydrostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid (H2DIDS; 1.5 mM), but was sensitive to the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) channel inhibitor diphenylamine-2-carboxylate (DPC; 100 microM). In contrast, removal of serosal Cl- caused pHi to alkalinize in both normal and CF epithelia. Recovery from this alkaline challenge was dependent on serosal Cl- and blocked by H2DIDS. Additional studies showed that serosally applied Ba2+ (5.0 mM) in normal, but not CF, cells induced influx of HCO3- across the apical membrane that was reversibly blocked by mucosal DPC. In a final series of studies, normal and CF cells acutely alkaline loaded by replacing bilateral Krebs bicarbonate Ringer (KBR) with Hepes-buffered Ringer solution exhibited basolateral, but not apical, recovery from an alkaline challenge that was dependent on Cl-, independent of Na+ and blocked by H2DIDS. We conclude that: (1) normal, but not CF, nasal epithelia have a constitutively active DPC-sensitive HCO3- influx/efflux pathway across the apical membrane of cells, consistent with the movement of HCO3- via CFTR; and (2) both normal and CF nasal epithelia have Na+-independent, H2DIDS-sensitive AE at their basolateral domain.

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