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Lab personnel

Research interests

Research in my lab focuses on the function and regulation of ion channels with particular emphasis on:

  • Impact of mechanical forces (shear stress and pressure)
  • Fluid homeostasis in the lung
  • Auto-/paracrine signalling via non-neuronal acetylcholine

Clinical conditions and keywords

Hypertension, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary oedema, cystic fibrosis, pain/touch sensation, epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC), CFTR, mechanotransduction


Technical expertise of the lab:

  • Electrophysiology (patch-clamp, Ussing chamber, microelectrode recordings)
  • Pressure myography
  • Electron microscopy


  • Identifying the mechanism how ENaC senses shear stress
  • Characterising the role of vascular ENaC for blood pressure regulation in health and disease
  • The role of the extracellular matrix for shear stress sensation and ENaC regulation

Current funding


  • HUBS 191 Human Body Systems 1
  • PHSL 233 Cellular, Gastrointestinal and Renal Physiology
  • PHSL 345 Physiological Aspects of Health and Disease
  • PHSL 472 Neurophysiology
  • 400-level Convener in Physiology

Selected publications

Munasinghe, P. E., Saw, E. L., Reily-Bell, M., Tonkin, D., Kakinuma, Y., Fronius, M., & Katare, R. (2023). Non-neuronal cholinergic system delays cardiac remodelling in type 1 diabetes. Heliyon, 9, e17434.  doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e17434

Fronius, M. (2022, November). N-glycans have different roles for mediating the shear force response of epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC). Verbal presentation at the 4th International Symposium on Mechanobiology (ISMB), Sydney, Australia.

Brown, E. F., Mitaera, T., & Fronius, M. (2022). COVID-19 and liquid homeostasis in the lung: A perspective through the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) lens. Cells, 11, 1801.  doi: 10.3390/cells11111801

Chang, H. H. G., Leask, M. P., Kallingappa, P. K., Merry, T. L., Hotu, C., de Zoysa, J., … Fronius, M., … Hay, D. L., Merriman, T. R., & Davidson, A. J. (2022, August). The CALCRL receptor: A potential new genetic determinant of diabetic kidney disease in NZ. Verbal presentation at the Metabolic & Cardiovascular Disease Satellite Meeting: Queenstown Research Week, Queenstown, New Zealand.

Chin, W. Q., Ware, A., McDonald, F., & Fronius, M. (2022, August-September). Epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity and breast cancer: A role for the epithelial sodium channel? Poster session presented at the New Zealand Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand.

Stewart, A. C., Brown, E. F., Brown, C. H., & Fronius, M. (2022, August-September). Effect of F-actin on the mechanical activation of putative ΔN-TRPV1 and TRPV4 heteromers.  Poster session presented at the New Zealand Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand.

Brown, E. F., Mitaera, T., & Fronius, M. (2022, August-September). Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein expression and ENaC function in lung epithelia. Verbal presentation at the New Zealand Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand.

Brown, E. F., Fronius, M., & Brown, C. H. (2022). Vasopressin regulation of maternal body fluid balance in pregnancy and lactation: A role for TRPV channels? Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology, 558, 111764.  doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2022.111764

Paudel, P., van Hout, I., Bunton, R. W., Parry, D. J., Coffey, S., McDonald, F. J., & Fronius, M. (2022). Epithelial sodium channel δ subunit is expressed in human arteries and has potential association with hypertension. Hypertension, 79(7), 1385-1394.  doi: 10.1161/hypertensionaha.122.18924

Fronius, M. (2022). Epithelial Na+ channel and the glycocalyx: A sweet and salty relationship for arterial shear stress sensing. Current Opinion in Nephrology & Hypertension, 31(2), 142-150.  doi: 10.1097/mnh.0000000000000779

Perkinson, M., Augustine, R. A., Bouwer, G. T., Brown, E. F., Cheong, I., Seymour, A. J., Fronius, M., & Brown, C. H. (2021). Plasticity in intrinsic excitability of hypothalamic magnocellular neurosecretory neurons in late-pregnant and lactating rats. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(13), 7140.  doi: 10.3390/ijms22137140

Paudel, P., McDonald, F., & Fronius, M. (2021). Vascular ENaC in human arteries and its role in hypertension.   FASEB Journal, 35(Suppl. 1).  doi: 10.1096/fasebj.2021.35.S1.02625

Shah, V. K., & Fronius, M. (2021). Increased expression of epithelial sodium channel affects mechanical properties of endothelial cells by reorganising the F-actin cytoskeleton. Journal of Hypertension, 39(e-Suppl. 12), (pp. e326).  doi: 10.1097/01.hjh.0000748264.65818.f6

Shah, V. K., & Fronius, M. (2021). Evidence of how epithelial sodium channel promotes stiffness in human and mouse endothelial cells.   Journal of Hypertension, 39(e Suppl. 1), (pp. e329-e392).  doi: 10.1097/01.hjh.0000748308.30220.7e

Barth, D., Knoepp, F., & Fronius, M. (2021). Enhanced shear force responsiveness of epithelial Na+ channel's (ENaC) δ subunit following the insertion of N-glycosylation motifs relies on the extracellular matrix. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(5), 2500.  doi: 10.3390/ijms22052500

Saw, E. L., Pearson, J. T., Schwenke, D. O., Munasinghe, P. E., Tsuchimochi, H., Rawal, S., Coffey, S., … Bunton, R., Van Hout, I., … Williams, M. J. A., … Fronius, M., & Katare, R. (2021). Activation of the cardiac non-neuronal cholinergic system prevents the development of diabetes-associated cardiovascular complications. Cardiovascular Diabetology, 20, 50.  doi: 10.1186/s12933-021-01231-8

Paudel, P., McDonald, F. J., & Fronius, M. (2021). The δ subunit of epithelial sodium channel in humans: A potential player in vascular physiology. American Journal of Physiology: Heart & Circulatory Physiology, 320, H487-H493.  doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00800.2020

Paudel, P., McDonald, F., & Fronius, M. (2020). Epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) in human arteries: An emerging player in hypertension.   FASEB Journal, 34(Suppl. 1).  doi: 10.1096/fasebj.2020.34.s1.03713

Brown, E., Brown, C. H., & Fronius, M. (2020). Mechanosensitivity of TRPV channels: Implications for vasopressin neuron activity.   FASEB Journal, 34(Suppl. 1).  doi: 10.1096/fasebj.2020.34.s1.03561

Kumar, P., Scholze, P., Fronius, M., Krasteva-Christ, G., & Hollenhorst, M. I. (2020). Nicotine stimulates ion transport via metabotropic β4 subunit containing nicotinic ACh receptors. British Journal of Pharmacology, 177, 5595-5608. doi: 10.1111/bph.15270

Baldin, J.-P., Barth, D., & Fronius, M. (2020). Epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) formed by one or two subunits forms functional channels that respond to shear force. Frontiers in Physiology, 11, 141.  doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.00141

SawKatare, E. E. L., Rawal, S., Pearson, J., Schwenke, D., Kakinuma, Y., Fronius, M., & Katare, R. (2020). Diabetes induced dysregulation of cardiac non-neuronal cholinergic system impairs heart metabolism.   Journal of Molecular & Cellular Cardiology, 140, Suppl., (pp. 14).  doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2019.11.031

Knoepp, F., Ashley, Z., Barth, D., Baldin, J.-P., Jennings, M., Kazantseva, M., Saw, E. L., Katare, R., … Fronius, M. (2020). Shear force sensing of epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) relies on N-glycosylated asparagines in the palm and knuckle domains of αENaC. PNAS, 117(1), 717-726.  doi: 10.1073/pnas.1911243117

Shuang, G., & Fronius, M. (2019, September). Effects of shear stress and carbon monoxide on epithelial sodium channels.  Poster session presented at the Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand.

Shah, V. K., & Fronius, M. (2019, September). Epithelial sodium channel (ENaC): Mediator of the aldosterone induced stiffness in endothelial cells.  Poster session presented at the Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand.

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