Uroguanylin regulates net fluid secretion via the NHE2 isoform of the Na/H+ exchanger in an intestinal cellular model

Cell Physiol Biochem. 2011;28(4):733-42. doi: 10.1159/000335767. Epub 2011 Dec 14.


Uroguanylin (UGN) has been proposed as a key regulator of salt and water intestinal transport. Uroguanylin activates cell-surface guanylate cyclase C receptor (GC-C) and modulates cellular function via cyclic GMP (cGMP), thus increasing electrolyte and net water secretion. It has been suggested that the action of UGN could involve the Na(+)/H(+) exchanger, but the actual contribution of this transporter still remains unclear. The objective of our study was to investigate the putative effects of UGN on some members of the Na(+)/H(+) exchanger family (NHEs), as well as to clarify its consequences on transepithelial fluid flow in T84 cells. In order to do so, transepithelial fluid flow (J(v)) was studied by optic techniques and intracellular pH (pH(i)) was measured with a fluorescence method. Results showed that NHE2 is found at the apical membrane and has a major role in Na(+) absorption; NHE1 and NHE4 are localized at the basolateral membrane with a house-keeping role in steady state pH(i). In the assayed conditions, cell exposure to apical UGN increases net secretory J(v), without changing short-circuit currents nor transepithelial resistance, and reduces NHE2 activity. Therefore, at physiological pH, the effect on net J(v) was produced mainly by a reduction in normal Na(+) absorption through NHE2, rather than by the stimulation of electrolyte secretion. Our study shows that the effect of UGN on pH(i) is GC-C/cGMP-mediated and enhanced by sildenafil, thus involving PDE5 enzyme. Additionally, cell exposure to apical UGN results in intracellular alkalinization, probably due to indirect effects on basolateral NHE1 and NHE4, which have a major role in pH(i) regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 5 / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / enzymology
  • Natriuretic Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Sodium / metabolism
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers / genetics
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers / metabolism*


  • Natriuretic Peptides
  • Protein Isoforms
  • SLC9A2 protein, human
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers
  • uroguanylin
  • Sodium
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 5