, Volume 330, Issue 1, pp 63-74
Date: 14 Aug 2007

Induction of claudins in passaged hTERT-transfected human nasal epithelial cells with an extended life span

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The epithelial barrier of the upper respiratory tract, such as that of the nasal mucosa, plays a crucial role in host defense. The epithelial barrier is regulated in large part by the apical-most intercellular junctions, referred to as tight junctions. However, the mechanisms regulating of tight junction barrier in human nasal epithelial cells remain unclear because the proliferation and storage of epithelial cells in primary cultures are limited. In the present study, we introduced the catalytic component of telomerase, the hTERT gene, into primary cultured human nasal epithelial cells and examined the properties of the transfectants, including their expression of tight junctions, compared with primary cultures. The ectopic expression of hTERT in the epithelial cells resulted in adequate growth potential and a longer lifespan of the cells. The properties of the passaged hTERT-transfected cells including tight junctions were similar to those of the cells in primary cultures. The barrier function in the transfectants after treatment with 10% FBS was significantly enhanced with increases of integral tight junction proteins claudin-1 and -4. When the transfectants were treated with TGF-β, which is assosciated with nasal polyposis and chronic rhinosinusitis, upregulation of only claudin-4 was observed, without a change of barrier function. In human nasal epithelial cells, the claudins may be important for barrier function and a novel target for a drug-delivery system. Our results indicate that hTERT-transfected human nasal epithelial cells with an extended lifespan can be used as an indispensable and stable model for studying the regulation of claudins in human nasal epithelium.

This work was supported by Grants-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports Science, and Technology of Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare of Japan, Japan Science and Technology Agency, the Akiyama Foundation, and the Long-Range Research Initiative Project of the Japan Chemical Industry Association.