Altered cGMP Dynamics at the Plasma Membrane Contribute to Diarrhea in Ulcerative Colitis

Kavisha Arora, Chandrima Sinha, Weiqiang Zhang, Chang Suk Moon, Aixia Ren, Sunitha Yarlagadda, Wolfgang R. Dostmann, Adebowale Adebiyi, Yael Haberman, Lee A. Denson, Xusheng Wang, Anjaparavanda P. Naren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ulcerative colitis (UC) belongs to inflammatory bowel disorders, a group of gastrointestinal disorders that can produce serious recurring diarrhea in affected patients. The mechanism for UC- and inflammatory bowel disorder-associated diarrhea is not well understood. The cystic fibrosis transmembrane-conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel plays an important role in fluid and water transport across the intestinal mucosa. CFTR channel function is regulated in a compartmentalized manner through the formation of CFTR-containing macromolecular complexes at the plasma membrane. In this study, we demonstrate the involvement of a novel macromolecular signaling pathway that causes diarrhea in UC. We found that a nitric oxide-producing enzyme, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), is overexpressed under the plasma membrane and generates compartmentalized cGMP in gut epithelia in UC. The scaffolding protein Na+/H+ exchanger regulatory factor 2 (NHERF2) bridges iNOS with CFTR, forming CFTR-NHERF2-iNOS macromolecular complexes that potentiate CFTR channel function via the nitric oxide-cGMP pathway under inflammatory conditions both in vitro and in vivo. Potential disruption of these complexes in Nherf2-/- mice may render them more resistant to CFTR-mediated secretory diarrhea than Nherf2+/+ mice in murine colitis models. Our study provides insight into the mechanism of pathophysiologic occurrence of diarrhea in UC and suggests that targeting CFTR and CFTR-containing macromolecular complexes will ameliorate diarrheal symptoms and improve conditions associated with inflammatory bowel disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2108
Pages (from-to)2790-2804
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


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