Measurement of [Cl−]i unaffected by the cell volume change using MQAE-based two-photon microscopy in airway ciliary cells of mice
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MQAE is a ‘non-ratiometric’ chloride ion (Cl−)-quenched fluorescent indicator that is used to determine intracellular Cl− concentration ([Cl−]i). MQAE-based two-photon microscopy is reported to be a useful method to measure [Cl−]i, but it is still controversial because a change in cell volume may alter the MQAE concentration, leading to a change in the fluorescence intensity without any change in [Cl−]i. In an attempt to elucidate the effect or lack of effect of cell volume on MQAE concentration, we studied the effects of changes in cell volume, achieved by applying different levels of osmotic stress, on the intensity of MQAE fluorescence in airway ciliary cells. To study solely the effect of changes in cell volume on MQAE fluorescence intensity, i.e., excluding the effect of any change in [Cl−]i, we first conducted the experiments in a Cl−-free nitrate (NO3−) solution to substitute NO3− (non-quenching anion for MQAE fluorescence) for Cl− in the intracellular fluid. Hypo- (− 30 mM NaNO3) or hyper-osmotic stress (+ 30 mM NaNO3) effected changes in cell volume, but the stress did not result in any significant change in MQAE fluorescence intensity. The experiments were also carried out in Cl−-containing solution. Hypo-osmotic stress (− 30 mM NaCl) increased both MQAE fluorescence intensity and cell volume, while hyper-osmotic stress (+ 30 mM NaCl) decreased both of these properties. These results suggest that the osmotic stress-induced change in MQAE fluorescence intensity was caused by the change in [Cl−]i and not by the MQAE concentration. Moreover, the intracellular distribution of MQAEs was heterogeneous and not affected by the changes in osmotic stress-induced cell volume, suggesting that MQAEs are bound to un-identified subcellular structures. These bound MQAEs appear to have enabled the measurement of [Cl−]i in airway ciliary cells, even under conditions of cell volume change.
KeywordsMQAE Intracellular Cl− concentration Two-photon microscopy Cell volume NO3−
This work is partly supported by Grants-in Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society of the Promotion of Science to SH and TN (No. 17K08545).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The procedures and protocols for the experiments were approved by the Animal Research Committee of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine (No. 26-263), and the experiments were carried out in accordance with the guidelines of this committee, which are identical to those of the Physiological Society of Japan.
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