Epithelial Sodium Channels in the Adult Lung – Important Modulators of Pulmonary Health and Disease

  • Ian C. Davis
  • Sadis Matalon
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 618)


Absorption of excess fluid from the airways and alveolar lumen requires active vectorial transepithelial transport of sodium ions (Na+) by alveolar type II and possibly type I cells. The rate-limiting step in this process is the activity of the heterotrimeric apical membrane epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC). Pharmacologic inhibitors and genetic manipulations that disrupt Na+ transport result in fluid accumulation within the lung and failure of gas exchange. The importance of Na+ transport in the lung is also demonstrated in conditions such as ARDS, where abnormal absorption of Na+ contributes to the pathophysiology of pulmonary disease. ENaC expression and function is influenced by diverse factors, such as oxygen tension, glucocorticoids, and cytoskeletal proteins. In addition, ENaC dysfunction has been shown to be induced by purinergic nucleotide activation of P2Y receptors (in paramyxoviral bronchiolitis) and reactive species (in acute lung injury). Finally, βadrenergic agonists have been shown experimentally to reverse defects in ENaC function, and improve hypoxemia and pulmonary edema, and may provide a novel therapeutic modality for ARDS, although some viral lung pathogens appear to induce insensitivity to their actions.

Key Words

respiratory virus β-adrenergic agonist P2Y receptor protein kinase C 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian C. Davis
    • 1
  • Sadis Matalon
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary BiosciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Anesthesiology&PhysiologyUniversity of AlabamaBirminghamUSA

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