Interleukin-5 inhibition of biliary cell chloride currents and bile flow

James M. McGill, Margaret S. Yen, Oscar W. Cummings, Gianfranco Alpini, Gene Lesage, Karen E. Pollok, Barbara Miller, Steven K. Engle, Ann P. Stansfield

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12 Scopus citations


Recent studies have detected significant elevations of interleukin (IL)-5 mRNA in the liver parenchyma of patients with both primary biliary cirrhosis and acute rejection after liver transplantation. In both of these disorders, intrahepatic biliary epithelial cells (BECs) are the targets of injury. We hypothesized that BECs may themselves express IL-5 receptors that may modulate key biliary functions. RNAs coding for IL-5α and -β receptors were amplified by RT/PCR from a biliary cell line derived from a human cholangiocarcinoma (Mz-ChA-1) and verified by DNA sequencing. IL-5 receptor distribution was detected immunocytochemically on Mz-ChA-1 cells, immortalized murine BEC, bile duct-ligated rat liver, and isolated cholangiocytes. Patch-clamp studies on Mz-ChA-1 cells showed that IL-5 inhibits 5′-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine-stimulated chloride currents. Additional functional studies showed that IL-5 inhibits secretin-induced bile flow. We conclude that BECs express IL-5 receptors and that IL-5 modulates BEC chloride currents and fluid secretion. Since IL-5 has previously been associated with cholestatic liver disease, we speculate that IL-5 may contribute to liver injury through its effects on biliary secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G738-G745
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number4 43-4
StatePublished - Apr 2001


  • Chloride channel
  • Cholestatic liver disease
  • Patch-clamp recording

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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    McGill, J. M., Yen, M. S., Cummings, O. W., Alpini, G., Lesage, G., Pollok, K. E., Miller, B., Engle, S. K., & Stansfield, A. P. (2001). Interleukin-5 inhibition of biliary cell chloride currents and bile flow. American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 280(4 43-4), G738-G745.