The Na+ transport function of alveolar epithelium represents an important mechanism for air space fluid clearance after acute lung injury. We studied the effect of endotoxin-stimulated rat alveolar macrophages on lung epithelial ion transport and permeability in vitro. Cultured rat distal lung (alveolar) epithelial monolayers incubated with both endotoxin and macrophages demonstrated a 75% decline in transepithelial resistance and a selective 60% reduction in amiloride-sensitive short-circuit current (Isc). Single-channel patch-clamp analysis demonstrated a 60% decrease in the density of 25-pS nonselective cation (NSC) channels on the apical membrane of epithelium exposed to both endotoxin and macrophages. A concurrent reduction in epithelial F-actin content suggested a role for actin depolymerization in mediating this effect. Incubation of cocultures with the methylated L-arginine (Arg) derivative NG-monomethyl-L-arginine prevented the reduction in epithelial Isc, as did substitution of L-Arg with D-Arg or incubation in L-Arg-free medium. Furthermore, the stable and products of Arg metabolism were found to have no effect on epithelial ion transport. These studies show that endotoxin-stimulated alveolar macrophages impair distal lung epithelial ion transport by an L-Arg-dependent mechanism by inactivating amiloride-sensitive 25-pS NSC channels. This may represent a novel mechanism whereby local inflammatory cells regulate lung epithelial ion transport. This could affect the ability of the lung to clear fluid from the air space.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994NP99500022
View details for PubMedID 7515564