Aeroaller-gens produced by Alternaria alternata can elicit life-threatening exacerbations of asthma in patients sensitized to this fungus. In this study, the effect of Alternaria on ion transport mechanisms underlying mucociliary clearance and airway epithelial barrier function was investigated in human airway epithelial cells. Apical exposure to Alternaria induced an increase in anion secretion that was inhibited by blockers of CFTR and Ca2+-activated Cl- channels. Stimulation of anion secretion was dependent on Ca2+ uptake from the apical solution. Alternaria exposure also produced an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) that was blocked by pretreatment with the oxidant scavenger glutathione (GSH). GSH and the NADPH oxidase inhibitor/complex 1 electron transport inhibitor diphenylene iodonium chloride (DPI) blocked ATP release and the increase in intracellular [Ca2+] evoked by Alternaria. Alternaria also decreased transepithelial resistance, and a portion of this effect was dependent on the increase in ROS. However, the Alternaria-induced increase in unidirectional dextran (molecular mass = 4,000 Da) flux across the epithelium could not be accounted for by increased oxidative stress. These results support the conclusion that oxidative stress induced by Alternaria was responsible for regulating Ca2+-dependent anion secretion and tight junction electrical resistance that would be expected to affect mucociliary clearance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (Grant F31 EB-018707 to N. A. Zaidman) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (Grant R01 HL-110539 to H. Kita and S. M. O?Grady).
- ATP release
- Chloride secretion
- Intracellular calcium
- Tight junctions