Cl-channel activation is necessary for stimulation of Na transport in adult alveolar epithelial cells

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In this review, we discuss evidence that supports the hypothesis that adrenergic stimulation of transepithelial Na absorption across the alveolar epithelium occurs indirectly by activation of apical Cl channels, resulting in hyperpolarization and an increased driving force for Na uptake through amiloride-sensitive Na channels. This hypothesis differs from the prevailing idea that adrenergic-receptor activation increases the open probability of Na channels, leading to an increase in apical membrane Na permeability and an increase in Na and fluid uptake from the alveolar space. We review results from cultured alveolar epithelial cell monolayer experiments that show increases in apical membrane Cl conductance in the absence of any change in Na conductance after stimulation by selective β-adrenergic- receptor agonists. We also discuss possible reasons for differences in Na- channel regulation in cells grown in monolayer culture compared with that in dissociated alveolar epithelial cells. Finally, we describe some preliminary in vivo data that suggest a role for Cl-channel activation in the process of amiloride-sensitive alveolar fluid absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L239-L244
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2 22-2
StatePublished - Feb 2000


  • Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator
  • Epithelial sodium channel
  • Ion transport
  • Terbutaline


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