Gene expression for carbonic anhydrase isoenzymes in human nasal mucosa

Chem Senses. 2003 Sep;28(7):621-9. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjg054.


Carbonic anhydrase (CA) is physiologically important in the reversible hydration reaction of CO(2); it is expressed in a number of isoforms (CA I-XIV) with varying degrees of enzymatic activity. In nasal chemesthesis, CA inhibition decreases the electrophysiologic response to CO(2), a common irritant test compound. CA enzymatic activity has been demonstrated in the human nasal mucosa using enzyme histochemical methods, but no systematic study of nasal mucosal CA isoenzyme gene expression has been published. We examined CA gene expression in superficial nasal mucosal scrapings from 15 subjects (6 females; 6 allergic rhinitics; age range, 21-56 years). Both non-quantitative and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were performed using primers for each gene coding for the 11 catalytically active CA isoenzymes and the housekeeping gene GADPH. Amplification products of GADPH and 10 of the 11 CA genes were detected in the specimens (CA VA was not detected). Relative expression of the CA genes was quantified using real-time PCR. Averaged across subjects, the relative abundance of the CA isoenzyme transcripts is as follows: CA XII > CA II > CA VB > CA IV > CA IX > CA III > CA XIV > CA I > CA VI > CA VII. Limited qualitative validation of gene expression was obtained by immunohistochemistry for CA I, CA II and CA IV. We also observed inter-individual variability in the expression of CA isoenzymes in human nasal mucosa, potentially contributing to differences in nasal chemosensitivity to CO(2) between individuals

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Isoenzymes / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / enzymology*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Carbonic Anhydrases