Functional and Molecular Expression of Epithelial Sodium Channels in Cultured Human Endolymphatic Sac Epithelial Cells

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Epithelial sodium channels are expressed in cultured human endolymphatic sac (ES) epithelial (HESE) cells and epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) expression is suppressed by interleukin 1β.


The ES is part of the membranous labyrinth in the inner ear that plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis of the endolymphatic fluid system. However, the exact mechanism of fluid volume regulation is not yet known.


The ES specimens were harvested during acoustic neuroma surgery (n = 13) using the translabyrinthine approach and were subcultured with high-epidermal growth factor (25 ng/mL) media.


The serially passaged HESE cells differentiated into a monolayer of confluent cells and some of the cultured cells had features of mitochondria-rich cells. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction revealed that ENaC subunits are expressed in the cultured HESE cells. We also confirmed the presence of an ENaC-dependent short-circuit current in the cultured HESE cells. Interestingly, ENaC mRNA expression and ENaC-dependent current decreased after treatment with interleukin 1β (10 nmol/L for 24 h).


These findings suggest that ENaC plays an important role in fluid absorption in the human ES and that its function may be altered during inflammatory conditions.

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