Sulfate concentrations and transport in human bronchial epithelial cells

N. K. Mohapatra, P. W. Cheng, J. C. Parker, A. M. Paradiso, J. R. Yankaskas, R. C. Boucher, T. F. Boat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Inorganic sulfate concentrations in the cytoplasm of human bronchial epithelial cells exceeded levels in the bathing medium under all circumstances tested. Cell sulfate concentrations were directly related to medium sulfate concentrations and inversely related to medium chloride concentrations. In physiological media there was a sulfate compartment of ~0.3 mM that exchanged very slowly with extracellular sulfate. In media lacking chloride, sulfate was accumulated by the cells to a level as high as 2 mM. Sulfate uptake was markedly inhibited by external chloride and by stilbene sulfonic acid derivatives but was not affected by sodium in the medium. Efflux of 35SO4/2- was stimulated by both chloride and sulfate in the bathing medium but inhibited by stilbenes. The following compounds had no effect on sulfate movements: phorbol esters, adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophospate derivatives, and okadaic acid. Changes in medium tonicity were likewise without effect. Our results suggest that human bronchial epithelial cells maintain a steady-state disequilibrium for inorganic sulfate. Furthermore, sulfate appears to exist in at least two compartments in the cells: one that is slowly exchangeable with sulfate in the medium and another exchangeable compartment that is of negligible size in physiological media but that becomes very large in media lacking chloride. Sulfate is transported by an anion exchanger of broad specificity that is not influenced by substances known to modulate chloride channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1231-C1237
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number5 33-5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • anion transport
  • chloride channels
  • cystic fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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