Chloride secretion by the intestinal epithelium: molecular basis and regulatory aspects

Annu Rev Physiol. 2000:62:535-72. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physiol.62.1.535.


Chloride secretion is the major determinant of mucosal hydration throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and chloride transport is also pivotal in the regulation of fluid secretion by organs that drain into the intestine. Moreover, there are pathological consequences if chloride secretion is either reduced or increased such as in cystic fibrosis and secretory diarrhea, respectively. With the molecular cloning of many of the proteins and regulatory factors that make up the chloride secretory mechanism, there have been significant advances in our understanding of this process at the cellular level. Similarly, emerging data have clarified the intercellular relationships that govern the extent of chloride secretion. The goal of our article is to review this area of investigation, with an emphasis on recent developments and their implications for the physiology and pathophysiology of chloride transport.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*


  • Chlorides