HOCl effects on the tight junctions of rabbit tracheal epithelium

Y. Guo, M. Krumwiede, J. G. White, Douglas Wangensteen

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19 Scopus citations


We previously found that HOCl, produced from neutrophil products in infected airways, decreases electrical resistance (R) of rabbit tracheal epithelium. Interestingly, HOCl at 6 mM, a reasonable concentration in diseased airways, decreased R without apparent cell damage. This study sought to determine whether this noncytotoxic dose of HOCl causes morphological changes that correlate with the decrease in R. Excised rabbit tracheas were treated with 6 mM HOCl for 15 min, before and after which epithelial R was determined. Epithelial tissue was then fixed and prepared for transmission electron microscopy, immunofluorescent labeling of F-actin or the tight junction protein ZO-1, or freeze fracture to examine tight junction strands. HOCl treatment caused a 50% decrease in R. Electron micrographs showed no cell, cell membrane, or tight junction changes. By laser confocal microscopy, 6 mM HOCl did not affect the distribution of F-actin or ZO-1. However, morphometric analysis of freeze-fracture replicas showed that tight junction strand number was significantly decreased from 7.06 ± 0.09 to 4.79 ± 0.11 and junctional width was significantly decreased from 0.306 ± 0.007 to 0.214 ± 0.006 μm. These latter changes may have contributed to the observed decrease in epithelial R.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2 14-2
StatePublished - Apr 17 1996


  • ZO-1
  • actin
  • electron microscopy
  • epithelial electrical resistance
  • freeze fracture


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