P2Y receptor agonists stimulate Cl- secretion across both normal and cystic fibrosis (CF) airway epithelia, and therefore have potential for use in the treatment of CF. Although CF pathology is manifest primarily in the distal airways, most studies of P2Y-receptor-mediated airway epithelial ion transport have used cells cultured from proximal regions. Here we report the results of studies of P2Y-receptor-mediated ion transport in distal bronchi isolated from porcine lungs, cannulated and perfused. A luminal microelectrode was used to record transepithelial potential difference (PD) and cable analysis was applied to determine resistance (Rt) and equivalent short-circuit current (ISC). Luminal UTP (100 µmol/l) transiently hyperpolarized PD (from -5.8-0.3 to -6.5-0.4 mV) and increased ISC (from 47-6 to 55-8 µA cm-2) before inhibiting PD to below the pre-UTP level (-5.0-0.4 mV). The decline was attenuated by pretreatment with amiloride, and additional treatment with bumetanide inhibited the initial hyperpolarization, suggesting that UTP stimulates Cl- secretion and inhibits Na+ absorption across distal bronchi. Luminal addition of P2Y1 [ADP, 2-methylthio-ATP (2MeSATP)] and P2Y6 (UDP) receptor agonists had no effect on ion transport. Pretreatment with thapsigargin (0.3 µmol/l) did not prevent the UTP-induced increase in PD and ISC but attenuated the secondary fall in PD. Pretreatment with BAPTA/AM (50 µmol/l), however, had no effect on the response to UTP. Additional studies of isolated bronchial epithelial cells using Fura-2 showed that UTP increases [Ca2+]in, and this increase is blocked by pretreatment with thapsigargin. These results suggest that in intact distal bronchi luminal UTP stimulates Cl- secretion by a Ca2+-independent mechanism and inhibits Na+ absorption by a Ca2+-dependent mechanism. Both effects are likely to favour increased hydration of the airway surface, and may therefore be beneficial in CF
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