CFTR activation in human bronchial epithelial cells by novel benzoflavone and benzimidazolone compounds

Emanuela Caci, Chiara Folli, Olga Zegarra-Moran, Tonghui Ma, Mark F. Springsteel, Robert E. Sammelson, Michael H. Nantz, Mark J. Kurth, A. S. Verkman, Luis J V Galietta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Activators of the CFTR Cl- channel may be useful for therapy of cystic fibrosis. Short-circuit current (Isc) measurements were done on human bronchial epithelial cells to characterize the best flavone and benzimidazolone CFTR activators identified by lead-based combinatorial synthesis and high-throughput screening. The 7,8-benzoflavone UCCF-029 was a potent activator of Cl- transport, with activating potency (sc but with lower potency (5-20 μM). In combination, the effect induced by maximal UCCF-029 and UCCF-853 was 50-80% greater than that of either compound alone. The apparent activating potencies (Kd) of UCCF-029, UCCF-853, and apigenin increased strongly with increasing basal CFTR activity: for example, Kd for activation by UCCF-029 decreased from >5 to sc from ∼4 μA/cm2 to ∼12 μA/cm2. This dependence was confirmed in permeabilized Fischer rat thyroid cells stably expressing CFTR. Our results demonstrate efficacy of novel CFTR activators in bronchial epithelia and provide evidence that activating potency depends on basal CFTR activity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1 29-1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2003


  • Airway epithelium
  • Chloride secretion
  • Drug discovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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