OligoG CF-5/20 normalizes cystic fibrosis mucus by chelating calcium

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2017 Jun;44(6):639-647. doi: 10.1111/1440-1681.12744.


The goal of this study was to determine whether the guluronate (G) rich alginate OligoG CF-5/20 (OligoG) could detach cystic fibrosis (CF) mucus by calcium chelation, which is also required for normal mucin unfolding. Since bicarbonate secretion is impaired in CF, leading to insufficient mucin unfolding and thereby attached mucus, and since bicarbonate has the ability to bind calcium, we hypothesized that the calcium chelating property of OligoG would lead to detachment of CF mucus. Indeed, OligoG could compete with the N-terminus of the MUC2 mucin for calcium binding as shown by microscale thermophoresis. Further, effects on mucus thickness and attachment induced by OligoG and other alginate fractions of different length and composition were evaluated in explants of CF mouse ileum mounted in horizontal Ussing-type chambers. OligoG at 1.5% caused effective detachment of CF mucus and the most potent alginate fraction tested, the poly-G fraction of about 12 residues, had similar potency compared to OligoG whereas mannuronate-rich (M) polymers had minimal effect. In conclusion, OligoG binds calcium with appropriate affinity without any overt harmful effect on the tissue and can be exploited for treating mucus stagnation.

Keywords: alginate; calcium chelation; cystic fibrosis; mucus; oligog cf-5/20.

MeSH terms

  • Alginates / chemistry*
  • Alginates / metabolism
  • Alginates / pharmacology*
  • Alginates / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Chelating Agents / chemistry
  • Chelating Agents / metabolism
  • Chelating Agents / pharmacology
  • Chelating Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Glucuronic Acid / chemistry
  • Glucuronic Acid / metabolism
  • Glucuronic Acid / pharmacology
  • Glucuronic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Hexuronic Acids / chemistry
  • Hexuronic Acids / metabolism
  • Hexuronic Acids / pharmacology
  • Hexuronic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Ileum / drug effects
  • Ileum / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mucus / drug effects*
  • Mucus / metabolism*
  • Polymerization


  • Alginates
  • Chelating Agents
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • guluronic acid
  • Glucuronic Acid
  • Calcium