Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

, Volume 466, Issue 11, pp 2059–2065 | Cite as

Comparative analysis of theophylline and cholera toxin in rat colon reveals an induction of sealing tight junction proteins

  • Alexander G. Markov
  • Evgeny L. Falchuk
  • Natalia M. Kruglova
  • Oksana V. Rybalchenko
  • Michael Fromm
  • Salah AmashehEmail author
Ion channels, receptors and transporters


Claudin tight junction proteins have been identified to primarily determine intestinal epithelial barrier properties. While functional contribution of single claudins has been characterized in detail, information on the interplay with secretory mechanisms in native intestinal epithelium is scarce. Therefore, effects of cholera toxin and theophylline on rat colon were analyzed, including detection of sealing claudins. Tissue specimens were stripped off submucosal tissue layers and mounted in Ussing chambers, and short-circuit current (ISC) and transepithelial resistance (TER) were recorded. In parallel, expression and localization of claudins was analyzed and histological studies were performed employing hematoxylin-eosin staining and light and electron microscopy. Theophylline induced a strong increase of ISC in colon tissue specimens. In parallel, a decrease of TER was observed. In contrast, cholera toxin did not induce a significant increase of ISC, whereas an increase of TER was detected after 120 min. Western blots of membrane fractions revealed an increase of claudin-3 and -4 after incubation with cholera toxin, and theophylline induced an increase of claudin-4. In accordance, confocal laser-scanning microscopy exhibited increased signals of claudin-3 and -4 after incubation with cholera toxin, and increased signals of claudin-4 after incubation with theophylline, within tight junction complexes. Morphological analyses revealed no general changes of tight junction complexes, but intercellular spaces were markedly widened after incubation with cholera toxin and theophylline. We conclude that cholera toxin and theophylline have different effects on sealing tight junction proteins in native colon preparations, which may synergistically contribute to transport functions, in vitro.


Rat colon Tight junctions Claudins Cholera toxin Theophylline 



The study has been supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG FOR 721, SFB 852), the Sonnenfeld-Stiftung Berlin, the Partnership Program FU Berlin–University St. Petersburg, by Saint Petersburg University Research Grant no., and grant RFBR 10-04-01575.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander G. Markov
    • 1
  • Evgeny L. Falchuk
    • 1
  • Natalia M. Kruglova
    • 1
  • Oksana V. Rybalchenko
    • 1
  • Michael Fromm
    • 2
  • Salah Amasheh
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of General PhysiologySt. Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Clinical PhysiologyCharité, Campus Benjamin FranklinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Veterinary PhysiologyFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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