Calu-3: A human airway epithelial cell line that shows cAMP-dependent Cl- secretion

B. Q. Shen, W. E. Finkbeiner, J. J. Wine, R. J. Mrsny, Jonathan Widdicombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

317 Scopus citations


Of 12 cell lines derived from human lung cancers, only Calu-3 cells showed high transepithelial resistance (R(te)) and increases in short-circuit current (I(sc)) in response to mediators. Calu-3 cells formed polarized monolayers with tight junctions and R(te) of ~100 Ω · cm2. Baseline I(sc) was ~35 μA/cm2 and was increased by ~75 μA/cm2 on elevation of intracellular adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) by isoproterenol. Flux studies showed that the increase in I(sc) was due to Cl- secretion. Forskolin and permeant analogues of cAMP also increased I(sc). Consistent with the presence of cAMP-dependent Cl- secretion, immunoprecipitation demonstrated the presence of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Bradykinin, methacholine, trypsin, and histamine all transiently (15-30 s) elevated I(sc), probably by increasing intracellular Ca concentration. Experiments in which the basolateral membrane was permeabilized with nystatin indicated that CFTR was substantially activated under baseline conditions and that Ca-activated Cl- channels were absent from the apical membrane. We anticipate that Calu-3 cells will prove useful in the study of Cl- secretion and other functions of human airway epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number5 10-5
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • cell culture
  • cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Calu-3: A human airway epithelial cell line that shows cAMP-dependent Cl<sup>-</sup> secretion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this