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J Biol Chem. 2004 Aug 27;279(35):36454-61. Epub 2004 Jun 21.

NADPH oxidase-dependent acid production in airway epithelial cells.

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  • 1Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, CA 94609, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the role of NADPH oxidase in H(+) secretion by airway epithelia. In whole cell patch clamp recordings primary human tracheal epithelial cells (hTE) and the human serous gland cell line Calu-3 expressed a functionally similar zinc-blockable plasma membrane H(+) conductance. However, the rate of H(+) secretion of confluent epithelial monolayers measured in Ussing chambers was 9-fold larger in hTE compared with Calu-3. In hTE H(+) secretion was blocked by mucosal ZnCl(2) and the NADPH oxidase blockers acetovanillone and 4-(2-aminoethyl)benzenesulfonyl fluoride (AEBSF), whereas these same blockers had no effect in Calu-3. We determined levels of transcripts for the NADPH oxidase transmembrane isoforms (Nox1 through -5, Duox1 and -2, and p22(phox)) and found Duox1, -2, and p22(phox) to be highly expressed in hTE, as well as the intracellular subunits p40(phox), p47(phox), and p67(phox). In contrast, Calu-3 lacked transcripts for Duox1, p40(phox), and p47(phox). Anti-Duox antibody staining resulted in prominent apical staining in hTE but no significant staining in Calu-3. When treated with amiloride to block the Na(+)/H(+) exchanger, intracellular pH in hTE acidified at significantly higher rates than in Calu-3, and treatment with AEBSF blocked acidification. These data suggest a role for an apically located Duox-based NADPH oxidase during intracellular H(+) production and H(+) secretion, but not in H(+) conduction.

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