Tight control of lung liquid (LL) regulation is vital for pulmonary function. The aim of this work was to determine whether PKC activation is involved in the physiological regulation of LL volume in a whole lung preparation. Rat lungs were perfused with a modified Ringer solution, and the lumen was filled with the same solution without glucose. LL volume was measured during a control period and after modulating drugs were administered, and net LL transepithelial movement (J(v)) was calculated. When the PKC activator PMA (10(-5) M) and the Ca(2+) ionophore ionomycin (10(-6) M) were instilled into the lung together, J(v) was significantly reduced (P = 0.03). This reduction was blocked by the PKC inhibitor chelerythrine chloride (10(-6) M; P = 0.56) and by a second PKC inhibitor GF109203X (10(-5) M; P = 0.98). When PMA and ionomycin were added with the β-adrenergic agonist terbutaline, the terbutaline-induced increase in J(v) was abolished. Addition of PMA and ionomycin with the epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC) blocker amiloride had no additional inhibitory effect. Together, these results suggest that PKC is likely to be involved in LL absorption, and the ability of PMA/ionomycin to block the terbutaline-induced increase in J(v) suggests that the downstream target of PKC is ENaC.