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Cornea. 2011 Oct;30 Suppl 1:S60-6. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e318227faab.

Hormonal regulation of Na+/K+-dependent ATPase activity and pump function in corneal endothelial cells.

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  • 1Division for Vision Research, National Institute of Sensory Organs, National Tokyo Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan.


Na- and K-dependent ATPase (Na,K-ATPase) in the basolateral membrane of corneal endothelial cells plays an important role in the pump function of the corneal endothelium. We investigated the role of dexamethasone in the regulation of Na,K-ATPase activity and pump function in these cells. Mouse corneal endothelial cells were exposed to dexamethasone or insulin. ATPase activity was evaluated by spectrophotometric measurement, and pump function was measured using an Ussing chamber. Western blotting and immunocytochemistry were performed to measure the expression of the Na,K-ATPase α1-subunit. Dexamethasone increased Na,K-ATPase activity and the pump function of endothelial cells. Western blot analysis indicated that dexamethasone increased the expression of the Na,K-ATPase α1-subunit but decreased the ratio of active to inactive Na,K-ATPase α1-subunit. Insulin increased Na,K-ATPase activity and pump function of cultured corneal endothelial cells. These effects were transient and blocked by protein kinase C inhibitors and inhibitors of protein phosphatases 1 (PP1) and 2A (PP2A). Western blot analysis indicated that insulin decreased the amount of inactive Na,K-ATPase α1-subunit, but the expression of total Na,K-ATPase α1-subunit was unchanged. Immunocytochemistry showed that insulin increased cell surface expression of the Na,K-ATPase α1-subunit. Our results suggest that dexamethasone and insulin stimulate Na,K-ATPase activity in mouse corneal endothelial cells. The effect of dexamethasone activation in these cells was mediated by Na,K-ATPase synthesis and an increased enzymatic activity because of dephosphorylation of Na,K-ATPase α1-subunits. The effect of insulin is mediated by the protein kinase C, PP1, and/or PP2A pathways.

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