Airway surface dehydration by transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) in cystic fibrosis is due to decreased function of a voltage-dependent potassium channel and can be rescued by the drug pirfenidone

Academic Article


  • Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) is not only elevated in airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, whose airways are characterized by abnormal ion transport and mucociliary clearance, but TGF-β1 is also associated with worse clinical outcomes. Effective mucociliary clearance depends on adequate airway hydration, governed by ion transport. Apically expressed, large-conductance, Ca2+- and voltage-dependent K+ (BK) channels play an important role in this process. In this study, TGF-β1 decreased airway surface liquid volume, ciliary beat frequency, and BK activity in fully differentiated CF bronchial epithelial cells by reducing mRNA expression of the BK γ subunit leucine-rich repeat-containing protein 26 (LRRC26) and its function. Although LRRC26 knockdown itself reduced BK activity, LRRC26 overexpression partially reversed TGF-β1-induced BK dysfunction. TGF-β1-induced airway surface liquid volume hyper-absorption was reversed by the BK opener mallotoxin and the clinically useful TGF-β signaling inhibitor pirfenidone. The latter increased BK activity via rescue of LRRC26.Therefore, we propose that TGF-β1-induced mucociliary dysfunction in CF airways is associated with BK inactivation related to a LRRC26 decrease and is amenable to treatment with clinically useful TGF-β1 inhibitors.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Manzanares D; Krick S; Baumlin N; Dennis JS; Tyrrell J; Tarran R; Salathe M
  • Start Page

  • 25710
  • End Page

  • 25716
  • Volume

  • 290
  • Issue

  • 42