Methods in Molecular Biology Volume 741, 2011, pp 87-107
Date: 20 Apr 2011

Measurement of Ion Transport Function in Rectal Biopsies

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Abstract

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in the gene encoding for the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). CFTR functions as an anion channel and is known to interact with a number of other cellular proteins involved in ion transport. To date more than 1,800 mutations are known, most of which result in various degrees of impaired transport function of the gene product. Due to the high inter-individual variability of disease onset and progression, CF still is a diagnostic challenge. Implemented almost 20 years ago, the measurement of electrolyte transport function of rectal biopsies is a useful ex vivo tool to diagnose CF. In this chapter we will review the different approaches to perform ion transport measurements and try to highlight the advantages and limitations of these techniques.