Non-CFTR chloride channels likely contribute to secretion in the murine small intestine.Pflugers Arch 2001; 443 Suppl 1:S103-6PA
While most cystic fibrosis (CF) transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR)-knockout animals die due to intestinal obstruction before or at the time of weaning, a subpopulation of these animals are long living and exhibit a milder phenotype. The decreased severity of intestinal disease in these mildly affected CF mice is related to the expression of non-CFTR genetic modifiers. The identity of these genetic modifiers is not known, but we hypothesize that they may complement CFTR function as a chloride channel in this tissue. To assess the contribution of non-CFTR chloride channels to chloride secretion across the small intestine of CF mice with mild disease, we measured the basal transepithelial potential difference across this tissue as well as the secretory response to agonists of the cAMP and the calcium-mediated signaling pathways. Chloride secretion across the small intestine of mildly affected CF mice was not stimulated by forskolin or by carbachol. The absence of CFTR is thus not compensated by the activity of a distinct, cAMP- or calcium-activated chloride channel at the apical surface of the intestinal epithelium. On the other hand, a basal chloride secretion across the intestinal epithelium was present in these animals, and we hypothesize that this activity may be linked to improved survival of these animals.