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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54494. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054494. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Cellular mechanism underlying formaldehyde-stimulated Cl- secretion in rat airway epithelium.

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School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.



Recent studies suggest that formaldehyde (FA) could be synthesized endogeneously and transient receptor potential (TRP) channel might be the sensor of FA. However, the physiological significance is still unclear.


The present study investigated the FA induced epithelial Cl(-) secretion by activation of TRPV-1 channel located in the nerve ending fiber. Exogenously applied FA induced an increase of I(SC) in intact rat trachea tissue but not in the primary cultured epithelial cells. Western blot and immunofluorescence analysis identified TRPV-1 expression in rat tracheal nerve ending. Capsazepine (CAZ), a TRPV-1 specific antagonist significantly blocked the I(SC) induced by FA. The TRPV-1 agonist capsaicin (Cap) induced an increase of I(SC), which was similar to the I(SC) induced by FA. L-703606, an NK-1 specific inhibitor and propranolol, an adrenalin β receptor inhibitor significantly abolished the I(SC) induced by FA or Cap. In the ion substitute analysis, FA could not induce I(SC) in the absence of extracelluar Cl(-). The I(SC) induced by FA could be blocked by the non-specific Cl(-) channel inhibitor DPC and the CFTR specific inhibitor CFTR(i-172), but not by the Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) channel inhibitor DIDS. Furthermore, both forskolin, an agonist of adenylate cyclase (AC) and MDL-12330A, an antagonist of AC could block FA-induced I(SC).


Our results suggest that FA-induced epithelial I(SC) response is mediated by nerve, involving the activation of TRPV-1 and release of adrenalin as well as substance P.

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