Reduction in viscosity of cystic fibrosis sputum in vitro by gelsolin

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Science  18 Feb 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5149, pp. 969-971
DOI: 10.1126/science.8310295


Obstruction of airways by viscous sputum causes lung damage in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Sputum samples from CF patients were shown to contain filamentous actin. Human plasma gelsolin, a protein that severs actin filaments, rapidly decreased the viscosity of CF sputum samples in vitro. Gc globulin and deoxyribonuclease I, proteins that sequester monomeric actin but do not sever actin filaments, were less efficient than gelsolin in diminishing sputum viscosity. These results suggest that gelsolin may have therapeutic potential as a mucolytic agent in CF patients.

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