Chloride/formate exchanger (CFEX; SLC26A6) mediates oxalate transport in various mammalian organs. Studies in Cfex knockout mice indicated its possible role in development of male-dominant hyperoxaluria and oxalate urolithiasis. Rats provide an important model for studying this pathophysiological condition, but data on Cfex (rCfex) localisation and regulation in their organs are limited. Here we applied the RT-PCR and immunochemical methods to investigate rCfex mRNA and protein expression and regulation by sex hormones in the pancreas, small intestine, liver, and kidneys from intact prepubertal and adult as well as gonadectomised adult rats treated with sex hormones. rCfex cDNA-transfected HEK293 cells were used to confirm the specificity of the commercial anti-CFEX antibody. Various biochemical parameters were measured in 24-h urine collected in metabolic cages. rCfex mRNA and related protein expression varied in all tested organs. Sex-independent expression of the rCfex protein was detected in pancreatic intercalated ducts (apical domain), small intestinal enterocytes (brush-border membrane; duodenum > jejunum > ileum), and hepatocytes (canalicular membrane). In kidneys, the rCfex protein was immunolocalised to the proximal tubule brush-border with segment-specific pattern (S1=S2<S3), and both rCfex mRNA and protein expression exhibited male-dominant sex differences driven by stimulatory effects of androgens after puberty. However, urinary oxalate excretion was unrelated to renal rCfex protein expression. While the effect of male-dominant expression of rCfex in renal proximal tubules on urine oxalate excretion remains unknown, its expression in the hepatocyte canalicular membrane may be a pathway of oxalate elimination via bile.
Keywords: RT-PCR; anion exchanger; immunolocalisation; nephrolithiasis; oxaluria; sex differences; urolithiasis.