Developmental acquisition of T3-sensitive Na-K-ATPase stimulation by rat alveolar epithelial cells

Jianxun Lei, Christine H Wendt, Daosheng Fan, Cary N. Mariash, David H Ingbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Late in gestation, the developing air space epithelium switches from chloride and fluid secretion to sodium and fluid absorption. Absorption requires Na-K-ATPase acting in combination with apical sodium entry mechanisms. Hypothyroidism inhibits perinatal fluid resorption, and thyroid hormone [triiodothyronine (T3)] stimulates adult alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) Na-K-ATPase. This study explored the developmental regulation of Na-K-ATPase by T3 in fetal rat distal lung epithelial (FDLE) cells. T3 increased Na-K-ATPase activity in primary FDLE cells from gestational day 19 [both primary FDLE cells at embryonic day 19 (E19) and the cell line FD19 derived from FDLE cells at E19]. However, T3 did not increase the Na-K-ATPase activity in less mature FDLE cells, including primary E17 and E18 FDLE cells and the cell line FD18 (derived from FDLE cells at E18). Subsequent experiments assessed the T3 signal pathway to define whether it was similar in the late FDLE and adult AEC and to determine the site of the switch in responsiveness to T3. As in adult AEC, in the FD19 cell line, the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor wortmannin blocked the T3-induced increase in Na-K-ATPase activity and plasma membrane quantity. T3 caused a parallel increase in phosphorylation of Akt at Ser473 in FDLE cells from E19, but not from E17 or E18. In the FD18 cell line, transient expression of a constitutively active mutant of the PI3K catalytic p110 subunit significantly augmented the Na-K-ATPase activity and the cell surface expression of Na-KATPase α1 protein. In conclusion, FDLE cells from E17 and E18 lacked T3-sensitive Na-K-ATPase activity but acquired this response at E19. The developmental stimulation of Na-K-ATPase by T3 in rat FDLE cells requires activation of PI3K, and the acquisition of T3 responsiveness may be at PI3K or upstream in the signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L6-L14
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Triiodothyronine


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