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Eur Respir J. 1995 Sep;8(9):1458-64.

Localization of neutral endopeptidase (NEP) mRNA in human bronchi.

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Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Georgetown Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007-2197, USA.


Neutral endopeptidase (NEP) may regulate peptide-induced inflammation in the respiratory tract. It is of interest to determine which respiratory resident cells express NEP. Trachea and bronchi from seven nonsmoking, nonasthmatic subjects were examined. NEP messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) was characterized by Northern blot hybridization of cultured human tracheobronchial epithelial and smooth muscle cells, and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in trachea and bronchi. In situ hybridization with biotin- and 35S-labelled antisense complementary ribonucleic acid (cRNA) probes was used to determine the distribution of NEP mRNA in human bronchial mucosa. NEP-immunoreactive material was detected using MEK10 murine monoclonal antibodies and the immunogold method with silver enhancement. NEP mRNA was 4.5 kb in size in the cultured human smooth muscle and epithelial cells by Northern blot analysis. No evidence was found by RT-PCR for truncated, alternatively spliced NEP mRNAs, such as del exon 16 or del exons 5-18 in human bronchus. NEP mRNA was detected by in situ hybridization in epithelial cells, submucosal glands, bronchial smooth muscle and endothelium. NEP-immunoreactive material was identified in the epithelium, submucosal glands, bronchial smooth muscle, and endothelium, demonstrating an excellent correlation between the distribution of NEP mRNA and the cell surface protein. NEP mRNA and immunoreactive material were excluded from epithelial goblet cell and submucosal gland mucous cell vacuoles. We conclude that the various sites of NEP protein and mRNA expression correlate with the locations of peptide receptors and NEP enzyme function, and are consistent with the hypothesis that NEP may regulate peptide-induced inflammation in human bronchi.

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