Increased expression of the epithelial anion transporter pendrin/SLC26A4 in nasal polyps of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Dec;136(6):1548-1558.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.05.024. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


Background: Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a multifactorial disease of unknown cause characterized by sinonasal inflammation, increased mucus production, and defective mucociliary clearance. Expression of Pendrin, an epithelial anion transporter, is increased in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pendrin increases mucus production and regulates mucociliary clearance.

Objectives: We sought to investigate the expression of pendrin and the mucus-related protein Muc5AC in sinonasal tissues of control subjects and patients with CRS and to evaluate the regulation of pendrin expression in nasal epithelial cells (NECs) in vitro.

Methods: The expression and distribution of pendrin in sinonasal tissues was analyzed by using real-time PCR, immunoblot analysis, and immunohistochemistry. Differentiated NECs were used to study the regulation of pendrin expression.

Results: Increased pendrin expression was observed in nasal polyp (NP) tissue of patients with CRS. Immunohistochemistry analysis revealed that pendrin was largely restricted to the epithelial layer. Pendrin expression significantly correlated with inflammatory cell markers, suggesting that the factors made by these cells might induce pendrin expression. Furthermore, both pendrin and periostin levels (a biomarker in asthma) correlated with IL-13 levels, suggesting that pendrin can be induced by this cytokine in sinonasal tissues. Expression of the mucus component protein Muc5AC correlated weakly with pendrin expression, indicating that pendrin might modulate mucus production in NPs. In cultured NECs pendrin expression was induced by TH2 cytokines and induced synergistically when TH2 cytokines were combined with IL-17A. Interestingly, human rhinovirus had a potentiating effect on IL-13-induced pendrin expression. Dexamethasone suppressed pendrin expression, suggesting that the therapeutic benefit of dexamethasone in asthmatic patients and those with CRS might involve regulation of pendrin expression.

Conclusions: TH2-mediated pendrin expression is increased in NPs of patients with CRS and might lead to increased inflammation, mucus production, and decreased mucociliary clearance.

Keywords: Muc5AC; Pendrin; SLC26A4; chronic rhinosinusitis; mucociliary clearance; mucus; nasal epithelial cells; nasal polyp; periostin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucin 5AC / genetics
  • Nasal Mucosa / cytology
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nasal Polyps / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rhinitis / metabolism*
  • Sinusitis / metabolism*
  • Sulfate Transporters
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines
  • MUC5AC protein, human
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mucin 5AC
  • RNA, Messenger
  • SLC26A4 protein, human
  • Sulfate Transporters