DIDS (4,4′-diisothiocyanato-stilbene-2,2′-disulfonic acid) is a commonly used blocker of plasma membrane anion channels and transporters. We observed that DIDS undergoes decomposition while stored in DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) forming a biologically active compound. One decomposition product, called IADS, was identified and synthesized. Voltage-clamp and patch clamp experiments on Xenopus laevis oocytes and human erythrocytes revealed that IADS is able to activate a plasma membrane cation conductance in both cell types. Furthermore, we found that IADS induces hemolysis in red blood cells of healthy donors but fails to hemolyze erythrocytes of donors with cystic fibrosis. Thus, IADS stimulated activation of a cation conductance could form the basis for a novel diagnostic test of cystic fibrosis.
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