The cholinergic regulation of potassium (86Rb+) permeability in sweat glands isolated from patients with cystic fibrosis.
Sweat glands isolated from skin obtained from normal subjects and patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) were pre-loaded with 86Rb+ and superfused with a physiological salt solution and the rate of 86Rb+ efflux was measured as an indicator of cellular potassium permeability. Acetylcholine always evoked a permeability increase in the glands from control subjects and this response could be resolved into calcium-dependent and calcium-independent components. Sweat glands from CF patients did not show such consistent responses. In three individuals the glands were abnormally insensitive to acetylcholine but normal responsiveness was seen in a fourth case. It is proposed that CF can induce dysfunction of calcium-dependent control processes in sweat glands.