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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 May 1;171(9):1026-31. Epub 2005 Feb 11.

Chloride transport in nasal ciliated cells of cystic fibrosis heterozygotes.

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Centre de Ressources et de Compétences en Mucoviscidose, Laboratoire d'Explorations Fonctionnelles Rénales, Service de Biochimie A, Service d'ORL, Paris, France.


Studying subjects heterozygous for mutations of the cystic fibrosis (CF) gene may help clarify the impact on disease onset of CF transmembrane conductance regulator protein (CFTR-)-dependent chloride secretion. CFTR-mediated chloride transport was evaluated in 52 heterozygous subjects, 32 healthy control subjects, and 77 patients with CF with class I or II mutations. We measured the change in nasal potential difference in response to chloride-free isoproterenol solution for each subject and used a video-imaging fluorescent dye assay to assess the percentage of nasal ciliated cells with cAMP-dependent anion conductance. Our findings did not confirm the standard assumption that heterozygosity implies 50% of normal CFTR function. Half the heterozygous subjects had CFTR-mediated chloride transport levels below 50% of the normal range, and one-third had levels similar to those of the patients with CF. This reduced CFTR function was not associated with an elevated prevalence of CF-like symptoms in heterozygous subjects but was highly related to respiratory status in the patients with CF. These data suggest that CFTR-dependent chloride conductance does not directly modulate disease severity but may be part of a more global defect in patients with CF involving other CFTR functions or currently unknown modulatory factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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