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Transepithelial Transport by Pulmonary Alveolar Type II Cells in Primary Culture

Robert J. Mason, Mary C. Williams, Jonathan H. Widdicombe, Martin J. Sanders, Dayton S. Misfeldt and Leonard C. Berry
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 79, No. 19, [Part 1: Biological Sciences] (Oct. 1, 1982), pp. 6033-6037
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/12945
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Transepithelial Transport by Pulmonary Alveolar Type II Cells in Primary Culture
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Abstract

Fluid and electrolyte transport by epithelial cells in vitro can be recognized by the ability of cultured cells to form domes and by the electrical properties of monolayer cultures. Pulmonary alveolar epithelial cells are thought to be partially responsible for fluid movement in the fetal lung, but their role in electrolyte transport in the adult lung is not known. We isolated alveolar type II cells from adult rat lung and maintained them on plastic culture dishes alone, on plastic culture dishes coated with an extracellular matrix, and on collagen-coated Millipore filters. Numerous large domes were formed on culture dishes coated with the extracellular matrix; smaller domes were formed on uncoated plastic culture dishes. Sodium butyrate (3 mM) stimulated dome formation. Transmission electron microscopy showed that the epithelial cells had flattened but still retained lamellar inclusions and that the cells were polarized with microvilli on the apical surface facing the culture medium. The electrical properties of the monolayers maintained on collagen-coated Millipore filters were tested in two laboratories. The transepithelial potential differences were 0.7± 0.1 mV (24 filters, seven experiments) and 1.3± 0.1 mV (13 filters, two experiments) apical side negative, and the corresponding resistances were 217± 11 ohm· cm2 and 233± 12 ohm· cm2. Terbutaline (10 μ M) produced a biphasic response with a transient decrease and then a sustained increase in potential difference. Amiloride (0.1 mM) completely abolished the potential difference when it was added to the apical side but not when it was added to the basal side, whereas 1 mM ouabain inhibited the potential difference more effectively from the basal side. Thus, type II cells form a polarized epithelium in culture, and these cells actively transport electrolytes in vitro.

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