Sodium butyrate stimulates NHE8 expression via its role on activating nhe8 basal promoter activity

Hua Xu, Anthony McCoy, Jing Li, Yang Zhao, Fayez K. Ghishan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Butyrate is a major metabolite in colonic lumen. It is produced from bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber. Butyrate has been shown to stimulate electroneutral sodium absorption through its regulation on sodium/hydrogen exchanger 3 (NHE3). Although NHE8, the newest addition of intestinal NHE family, is involved in sodium absorption in the intestinal tract, whether butyrate modulates NHE8 expression in the intestinal epithelial cells is not known. In the current study, we showed that butyrate treatment strongly induced NHE8 protein and NHE8 mRNA expression in human intestinal epithelial cells. Transfection with the human NHE8 promoter reporter constructs showed that butyrate treatment stimulated reporter gene expression at an amount comparable with its stimulation of NHE8 mRNA expression. Interestingly, a similar result was also observed in human NHE8 promoter transfected cells after trichostatin (TSA) treatment. Gel mobility shift assay identified an enhanced Sp3 protein binding on the human NHE8 basal promoter region upon butyrate stimulation. Furthermore, Sp3 acetylation modification is involved in butyrate-mediated NHE8 activation in Caco-2 cells. Our findings suggest that the mechanism of butyrate action on NHE8 expression involves enhanced Sp3 interaction at the basal promoter region of the human NHE8 gene promoter to activate NHE8 gene transcription. Thus butyrate is involved in intestinal regulation of NHE8 resulting enhanced sodium absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G500-G505
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015


  • Acetylation
  • Butyrate
  • Intestine
  • NHE8
  • Sp3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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