Transcriptional inhibition of intestinal NHE8 expression by glucocorticoids involves Pax5

Hua Xu, Bo Zhang, Jing Li, Huacong Chen, Chunhui Wang, Fayez K. Ghishan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Sodium/hydrogen exchangers (NHEs) are a family of proteins that transport sodium ions into the cells by moving protons out of the cells. They play a major role in sodium absorption, cell volume regulation, and intracellular pH regulation. Three out of nine identified NHEs (NHE2, NHE3, and NHE8) are expressed on the apical membrane of intestinal epithelial cells. Glucocorticoids have been found to regulate NHE3 function in the intestine, but it is unknown if they have a similar function on NHE8 expression. Interestingly, high glucocorticoid levels in the intestine coincide chronologically with the change from high expression of NHE8 to high expression of NHE3. Studies were performed to explore the role of glucocorticoids on NHE8 expression during intestinal maturation. Brush-border membrane vesicles were isolated from intestinal epithelia, and Western blotting was performed to determine NHE8 protein expression of suckling male rats treated with methylpredisolone. Real-time PCR was used to quantitate NHE8 mRNA expression in rats and Caco-2 cells. Human NHE8 promoter activity was characterized through transfection of Caco-2 cells. Gel mobility shift assays (GMSAs) were used to identify the promoter sequences and the transcription factors involved in glucocorticoid-mediated regulation. Our results showed that the expression of NHE8 mRNA and protein was decreased in glucocorticoid-treated rats and human intestinal epithelial cells (Caco-2). The activity of the human NHE8 gene promoter transfected in Caco-2 cells was also reduced by glucocorticoid treatment. GMSAs suggested that the reduction in promoter activity in the presence of glucocorticoids was due to enhanced transcription factor Pax5 binding on the NHE8 proximal promoter region. In conclusion, this study showed that glucocorticoids inhibit NHE8 gene expression by increasing Pax5 binding on NHE8 gene promoter, suggesting an important role for Pax5 during intestinal maturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G921-G927
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Caco-2
  • Intestine
  • Sodium/hydrogen exchanger 8
  • Steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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