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Esomeprazole Increases Airway Surface Liquid pH in Primary Cystic Fibrosis Epithelial Cells

Lookup NU author(s): Livia Delpiano, Dr Sarah RiceORCiD, Dr Michael Gray, Dr Vinciane Saint-CriqORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Respiratory failure, driven by airways mucus obstruction, chronic inflammation and bacterial infections, is the main cause of mortality and morbidity in people with cystic fibrosis (CF) due to defects in the Cl- and HCO-3 transport activity of the CF Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR). Most recent pre-clinical and clinical studies have focused on restoring CFTR function by enhancing its trafficking or transport activity and show promising results. However, there are a significant number of patients that will not benefit from these CFTR-targeted therapies and it is therefore important to identify new non-CFTR targets that will restore lung function, by-passing CFTR dysfunction. The H+/K+-ATPase, ATP12A, has recently been identified as a potential novel target for CF therapies, since its acute inhibition by ouabain was shown to help restore mucus viscosity, mucociliary transport, and antimicrobial activity using in vitro CF airway models, and this effect was linked to an increase in the pH of the airway surface liquid (ASL). Here, we have evaluated the potential therapeutic use of ouabain by investigating the effect of chronically treating fully differentiated CF primary human airway epithelial cells (hAECs) with ouabain, under thin film conditions, resembling the in vivo situation. Our results show that although chronic treatment increased ASL pH, this correlated with a deleterious effect on epithelial integrity as assessed by LDH release, transepithelial electrical resistance, fluorescein flux, and ion transport. Since ATP12A shares approximately 65% identity with the gastric H+/K+-ATPase (ATP4A), we investigated the potential of using clinically approved ATP4A proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for their ability to restore ASL pH in CF hAECs. We show that, despite not expressing ATP4A transcripts, acute exposure to the PPI esomeprezole, produced changes in intracellular pH that were consistent with the inhibition of H+ secretion, but this response was independent of ATP12A. More importantly, chronic exposure of CF hAECs to esomeprazole alkalinized the ASL without disrupting the epithelial barrier integrity, but this increase in ASL pH was consistent with a decrease in mRNA expression of ATP12A. We conclude that PPIs may offer a new approach to restore ASL pH in CF airways, which is independent of CFTR.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Delpiano L, Thomas JJ, Yates AR, Rice SJ, Gray MA, Saint-Criq V

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Pharmacology

Year: 2018

Volume: 9

Print publication date: 01/12/2018

Online publication date: 11/12/2018

Acceptance date: 29/11/2018

Date deposited: 11/12/2018

ISSN (electronic): 1663-9812

Publisher: Frontiers Media


DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01462


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