Glutathione S-transferases in tracheobronchial epithelium

P. M S Reddy, C. P D Tu, Reen Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to characterize glutathione S-transferase (GST) gene expression in airway epithelium both in vivo and in vitro. Immunohistochemical staining of nonhuman primate lungs of well-controlled healthy animals reveals the presence of α- and Π-class GST isoenzymes in ciliated bronchial epithelium. The stain of μ-GST antibody is either very low or absent in some of these monkey lungs. We observed that primary tracheobronchial epithelial (TBE) cells isolated from human and monkey pulmonary tissues maintain a relatively high level of GST enzymatic activity in culture, compared with various immortalized human TBE cell lines and other nonpulmonary cell lines. Northern blot analysis demonstrated the presence of μ-, Π-, and microsomal-GST messages but not the α-class message in cultures of primary TBE cells as well as in various human TBE cell lines. The expression of μ- and Π-class GST genes can be further regulated in culture by various environmental factors; however, most of these regulating factors are associated with TBE cell differentiation in culture. For instance, vitamin A treatment, which was shown to enhance mucous cell differentiation in vitro, stimulated the message levels of μ- and Π-class GST. Furthermore, plating cells on collagen gel substrate, which also enhanced mucous cell differentiation in culture, instead of plastic culture surface, enhanced total GST enzymatic activity by eight fold, and this enhancement is related to an increase in the expression of the Π-class GST gene. These results demonstrated that GST genes are differentially expressed and regulated by various environmental factors in primary TBE cells and various cell lines, and the regulation is correlated to the mucous cell differentiation in culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4 13-4
StatePublished - 1995


  • airway epithelium
  • collagen substratum
  • epithelial cell culture
  • gene expression
  • vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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