The H+/K+-ATPase (Proton) Pump is Expressed in Human Laryngeal Submucosal Glands

Kenneth W. Altman, G. Kenneth Haines, Neal D. Hammer, James A. Radosevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Diagnosis and treatment of gastroesophageal and laryngopharyngeal reflux disease has significantly increased over recent years. The larynx is highly sensitive to the effects of LPRD and is similarly responsive to proton pump inhibitor pharmacotherapy. The hypothesis of the study was that proton pump activity exists in the human larynx and plays a functional role in normal and/or pathological laryngeal tissue. Study Design: Pathological investigation. Methods: Two fresh human cadaveric larynges (one male and one female larynx) were obtained as part of an exempt protocol from the Human Subjects Committee and were formalin fixed and paraffin embedded. Banked human stomach tissue was also obtained for use as comparative positive and negative control specimens. Sections were immunostained with monoclonal antibodies reactive with both alpha and beta subunits of the H +/K+-ATPase (proton) pump. Specimens were reviewed for staining pattern and intensity. Results: Stomach parietal cells (known to produce gastric acid) exhibited strongly positive staining for both the alpha and beta subunits of the proton pump. There was no staining in stomach cells that were not morphologically consistent with the parietal cell. In the human larynx there were strong focal and identical staining patterns in the serous cells and ducts of the minor seromucinous glands by both alpha and beta monoclonals to the proton pump. There was variable staining in the laryngeal epithelium that was thought to be consistent with artifact staining resulting from tissue processing. Conclusion: The H+/K+-ATPase (proton) pump is present in serous cells and ducts of submucosal glands in the human larynx. Proton pump inhibitor pharmacotherapy may have a site of action in seromucinous glands of the human larynx, with possible relevance for patients treated for chronic laryngitis with or without laryngopharyngeal reflux disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1927-1930
Number of pages4
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerodigestive tract
  • Chronic laryngitis
  • H/K-ATPase
  • Mucus
  • Proton pump
  • Secretions


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