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The anion exchanger slc26a3 regulates colonic mucus expansion during steady state and in response to prostaglandin E 2 , while Cftr regulates de novo mucus release in response to carbamylcholine.

The intestinal epithelium is covered by mucus that protects the tissue from the luminal content. Studies have shown that anion secretion via the cystic fibrosis conductance regulator (Cftr) regulates mucus formation in the small intestine. However, mechanisms regulating mucus formation in the colon are less understood. The aim of this study was to explore the role of anion transport in the regulation of mucus formation during steady state and in response to carbamylcholine (CCh) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2 ). The broad-spectrum anion transport inhibitor 4,4'-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2'-disulfonate (DIDS), CftrdF508 (CF) mice, and the slc26a3 inhibitor SLC26A3-IN-2 were used to inhibit anion transport. In the distal colon, steady-state mucus expansion was reduced by SLC26A3-IN-2 and normal in CF mice. PGE2 stimulated mucus expansion without de novo mucus release in wild type (WT) and CF colon via slc26a3 sensitive mechanisms, while CCh induced de novo mucus secretion in WT but not in CF colon. However, when added simultaneously, CCh and PGE2 stimulated de novo mucus secretion in the CF colon via DIDS-sensitive pathways. A similar response was observed in CF ileum that responded to CCh and PGE2 with DIDS-sensitive de novo mucus secretion. In conclusion, this study suggests that slc26a3 regulates colonic mucus expansion, while Cftr regulates CCh-induced de novo mucus secretion from ileal and distal colon crypts. Furthermore, these findings demonstrate that in the absence of a functional Cftr channel, parallel stimulation with CCh and PGE2 activates additional anion transport processes that help release mucus from intestinal goblet cells.

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