The cystic fibrosis (CF) sweat gland is defective in β-adrenergically-stimulated sweat secretion in the coil and chloride reabsorption in the duct. Whereas chloride reabsorption is regularly assessed by quantitative pilocarpine iontophoresis (QPIT), the measurement of β-adrenergic sweat secretion is not yet established in clinical practice.
A novel sweat bubble imaging protocol was developed that determines sweat secretion rates by automatic recording, processing and quality control of the kinetics of sweat droplet formation.
Treatment of CF patients with the CFTR modulators elexacaftor, tezacaftor and ivacaftor reduced the sweat chloride concentration measured in QPIT in the majority of patients to values in the intermediate or normal range. In contrast, the β-adrenergically-stimulated sweat secretion rate assayed by the automated bubble sweat test was normalized in only 3 patients, slightly increased in 12 patients and remained undetectable in 8 patients.
β-adrenergic sweat stimulation in the coil is apparently rather stringent in its requirements for a wild type CFTR conformation whereas chloride reabsorption in the duct tolerates residual structural and functional deficits of native or pharmacologically rescued mutant CFTR in the apical membrane.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.