Abstract

Cystic fibrosis airway epithelia exhibit a spectrum of ion transport properties that differ from normal, including not only defective cAMP-mediated Cl- secretion, but also increased Na+ absorption and increased Ca(2+)-mediated Cl- secretion. In the present study, we examined whether adenovirus-mediated (Ad5) transduction of CFTR can correct all of these CF ion transport abnormalities. Polarized primary cultures of human CF and normal nasal epithelial cells were infected with Ad5-CBCFTR at an moi (10(4)) which transduced virtually all cells or Ad5-CMV lacZ as a control. Consistent with previous reports, Ad5-CBCFTR, but not Ad5-CMV lacZ, corrected defective CF cAMP-mediated Cl- secretion. Basal Na+ transport rates (basal Ieq) in CF airway epithelial sheets (-78.5 +/- 9.8 microA/cm2) were reduced to levels measured in normal epithelial sheets (-30.0 +/- 2.0 microA/cm2) by Ad5-CBCFTR (-36.9 +/- 4.8 microA/cm2), but not Ad5-CMV lacZ (-65.8 +/- 6.1 microA/cm2). Surprisingly, a significant reduction in delta Ieq in response to ionomycin, a measure of Ca(2+)-mediated Cl- secretion, was observed in CFTR-expressing (corrected) CF epithelial sheets (-6.9 +/- 11.8 microA/cm2) when compared to uninfected CF epithelial sheets (-76.2 +/- 15.1 microA/cm2). Dose response effects of Ad5-CBCFTR on basal Na+ transport rates and Ca(2+)-mediated Cl- secretion suggest that the mechanism of regulation of these two ion transport functions by CFTR may be different. In conclusion, efficient transduction of CFTR corrects hyperabsorption of Na+ in primary CF airway epithelial cells and restores Ca(2+)-mediated Cl- secretion to levels observed in normal airway epithelial cells. Moreover, assessment of these ion transport abnormalities may represent important endpoints for testing the efficacy of gene therapy for cystic fibrosis.

Authors

L G Johnson, S E Boyles, J Wilson, R C Boucher

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