Mutations in the amiloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channel in patients with cystic fibrosis-like disease

Hum Mutat. 2009 Jul;30(7):1093-103. doi: 10.1002/humu.21011.


We investigated whether mutations in the genes that code for the different subunits of the amiloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) might result in cystic fibrosis (CF)-like disease. In a small fraction of the patients, the disease could be potentially explained by an ENaC mutation by a Mendelian mechanism, such as p.V114I and p.F61L in SCNN1A. More importantly, a more than three-fold significant increase in incidence of several rare ENaC polymorphisms was found in the patient group (30% vs. 9% in controls), indicating an involvement of ENaC in some patients by a polygenetic mechanism. Specifically, a significantly higher number of patients carried c.-55+5G>C or p.W493R in SCNN1A in the heterozygous state, with odds ratios (ORs) of 13.5 and 2.7, respectively.The p.W493R-SCNN1A polymorphism was even found to result in a four-fold more active ENaC channel when heterologously expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. About 1 in 975 individuals in the general population will be heterozygous for the hyperactive p.W493R-SCNN1A mutation and a cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene that results in very low amounts (0-10%) functional CFTR. These ENaC/CFTR genotypes may play a hitherto unrecognized role in lung diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / genetics*
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels / genetics*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic


  • Epithelial Sodium Channels
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator