European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 177–183 | Cite as

Hypertonic saline inhibits luminal sodium channels in respiratory epithelium

  • Alexandra HebestreitEmail author
  • Ulrich Kersting
  • Helge Hebestreit
Original Article


Physical exercise with increased ventilation leads to a considerable rise in water loss from the airways. The mechanisms underlying the regulation of transepithelial fluid transport necessary to compensate for these losses are unknown but may include changes in luminal ion channel conductance. The present study was designed to examine the effects of an increase in luminal chloride and sodium concentrations which may locally occur during hyperventilation on luminal ion conductance in the respiratory epithelium of healthy controls and patients diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). Changes in luminal chloride and sodium conductance were inferred by recording nasal potential difference in eight healthy subjects and 10 patients with CF, using superfusing solutions based on isotonic saline (150 mM) on one occasion and solutions based on hypertonic saline (300 mM) on the other. Switching from isotonic to hypertonic saline superfusion decreased potential difference in controls and CF patients significantly. Amiloride induced a decrease of potential difference which was larger with isotonic than with hypertonic saline (controls 9.5 ± 6.1 vs. 3.7 ± 4.6 mV; CF 17.2 ± 7.2 vs. 9.8 ± 7.6 mV). Chloride conductance stimulated with solutions low in chloride and containing isoproterenol was not significantly changed by hypertonic saline solutions compared with isotonic solutions in both groups. The findings indicate a significant inhibition of luminal sodium conductance by high luminal sodium concentrations. This mechanism may be involved in the regulation of fluid transport across the respiratory epithelium during exercise and in the improvement of mucociliary clearance and lung functions with inhalation of hypertonic saline in CF.


Nasal potential difference ENaC Cystic fibrosis Exercise Hypertonic saline 



This study was supported by a grant from the German CF foundation (Mukoviszidose e.V.).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Hebestreit
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ulrich Kersting
    • 2
  • Helge Hebestreit
    • 1
  1. 1.Universitäts-KinderklinikWürzburgGermany
  2. 2.Inst. f. Klinische Biochemie u. PathobiochemieWürzburgGermany

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