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Expression of beta subunit of epithelium sodium channel and cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator in small airways obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chan, Becky Ka Man

Abstract

Background: Excess plugging of small airways is associated with premature death in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Over-expression of beta-epithelial sodium channel (β-ENaC) in airway epithelia in mice resulted in plugging of small airways while cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) negatively regulated ENaC activity in cell models. Purpose: To test the hypothesis that accumulation of mucus exudates observed with the progression of COPD is related to excess airway epithelial sodium re-absorption as a result of over-expression of β-ENaC and reduced expression of CFTR by small airway epithelia. Methods: Small airway epithelial samples from frozen lungs from patients at different levels of COPD severity were isolated by laser capture microdissection (LCM). β-ENaC, CFTR, and β-actin (control) gene expression was determined by qRT-PCR and compared to expression in entire airways and lung parenchyma surrounding these airways. β-ENaC protein as well as epithelial mucin expression and mucus plugging were localized and quantified after immunohistochemical and periodic acid Schiff staining, respectively. Results: β-ENaC mRNA expression had a strong positive correlation with that of CFTR (p

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