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      Aquaporin-1 Is Expressed by Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells and Mediates Rapid Water Transport across Vascular Cell Membranes


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          The aquaporins are a rapidly expanding family of highly conserved proteins which function as transmembrane water channels. We have previously shown that the gene for aquaporin-1 (AQP-1) is expressed in rat, aortic vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) implying a specific role for AQP-1 in vascular function. In this study we set out to document the expression of AQP-1 in human arteries and found mRNA and protein in normal endothelial and VSMCs of human arteries and capillaries and in a subset of VSMCs in human atherosclerotic plaques. Secondly, we examined the regulation of AQP-1 gene expression during vascular development and following vascular injury. Studies in the rat demonstrated that AQP-1 mRNA is induced in the neonatal aorta at week 2 of postnatal development and that the protein is present in neointimal VSMCs following balloon injury. Finally, by measuring the rate of change in cell size induced by changes in external osmolarity and demonstrating that water transport can be inhibited with mercuric chloride, we show that AQP-1 is responsible for water transport across human VSMC membranes. Thus, this study provides evidence for a hitherto unrecognised role for aquaporins in mediating rapid water transport across human VSMC membranes. By analogy with other tissues, these data argue for an important role for AQP-1 in regulating transcellular fluid flow and tissue hydration.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Electrical conductivity measurements from the GISP2 and GRIP Greenlandice cores

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            Severely impaired urinary concentrating ability in transgenic mice lacking aquaporin-1 water channels.

            Water channel aquaporin-1 (AQP1) is strongly expressed in kidney in proximal tubule and descending limb of Henle epithelia and in vasa recta endothelia. The grossly normal phenotype in human subjects deficient in AQP1 (Colton null blood group) and in AQP4 knockout mice has suggested that aquaporins (other than the vasopressin-regulated water channel AQP2) may not be important in mammalian physiology. We have generated transgenic mice lacking detectable AQP1 by targeted gene disruption. In kidney proximal tubule membrane vesicles from knockout mice, osmotic water permeability was reduced 8-fold compared with vesicles from wild-type mice. Although the knockout mice were grossly normal in terms of survival, physical appearance, and organ morphology, they became severely dehydrated and lethargic after water deprivation for 36 h. Body weight decreased by 35 +/- 2%, serum osmolality increased to >500 mOsm, and urinary osmolality (657 +/- 59 mOsm) did not change from that before water deprivation. In contrast, wild-type and heterozygous mice remained active after water deprivation, body weight decreased by 20-22%, serum osmolality remained normal (310-330 mOsm), and urine osmolality rose to >2500 mOsm. Urine [Na+] in water-deprived knockout mice was <10 mM, and urine osmolality was not increased by the V2 agonist DDAVP. The results suggest that AQP1 knockout mice are unable to create a hypertonic medullary interstitium by countercurrent multiplication. AQP1 is thus required for the formation of a concentrated urine by the kidney.
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              Cloning and functional expression of a new water channel abundantly expressed in the testis permeable to water, glycerol, and urea.

              A new member of the aquaporin (AQP) family has been identified from rat testis. This gene, referred as aquaporin 7 (AQP7), encodes a 269-amino acid protein that contained the conserved NPA motifs of MIP family proteins. AQP7 has the amino acid sequence homology with other aquaporins ( approximately 30%), and it is highest with AQP3 (48%), suggesting that both AQP3 and AQP7 belong to a subfamily in the MIP family. Injection of AQP7-cRNA into Xenopus oocytes expressed a 26-kDa protein detected by immunoblotting. The expression of AQP7 in oocytes stimulated the osmotic water permeability by 10-fold which was not inhibited by 0.3 mM mercury chloride. The Arrhenius activation energy for the stimulated water permeability was low (2.1 kcal/mol). AQP7 also facilitated glycerol and urea transport by 5- and 9-fold, respectively. The activation energy for glycerol was also low (5.3 kcal/mol after the correction of the endogenous glycerol permeability of oocytes). Northern blot analysis revealed a 1.5-kilobase pair transcript expressed abundantly in testis. In situ hybridization of testis revealed the expression of AQP7 at late spermatids in seminiferous tubules. The immunohistochemistry of testis localized the AQP7 expression at late spermatids and at maturing sperms. AQP7 may play an important role in sperm function.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                October 1999
                28 October 1999
                : 36
                : 5
                : 353-362
                aDepartment of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK, bDepartment of Pathology, Papworth Hospital, Papworth Everard, UK, cJohns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md., USA
                25674 J Vasc Res 1999;36:353–362
                © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 7, References: 45, Pages: 10
                Research Paper


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