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      Role of aquaporins in lung liquid physiology.

      Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology

      physiology, Water-Electrolyte Balance, Respiratory Physiological Phenomena, metabolism, Pleura, Mice, Transgenic, Mice, Lung, Humans, Extracellular Fluid, Biological Transport, Aquaporins, Animals

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          Aquaporins (AQPs) are small, integral membrane proteins that facilitate water transport across cell membranes in response to osmotic gradients. Water transport across epithelia and endothelia in the peripheral lung and airways occurs during airway hydration, alveolar fluid transport and submucosal gland secretion. Several AQPs are expressed in the lung and airways: AQP1 in microvascular endothelia, AQP3 and AQP4 in airway epithelia, and AQP5 in type I alveolar epithelial cells, submucosal gland acini, and a subset of airway epithelial cells. Phenotype analysis of transgenic knockout mice lacking AQPs has defined their roles in the lung and airways. AQP1 and AQP5 provide the principal route for osmotically driven water transport between airspace and capillary compartments; however, alveolar fluid clearance in the neonatal and adult lung is not affected by their deletion, nor is lung fluid accumulation in experimental models of lung injury. In the airways, though AQP3 and AQP4 facilitate osmotic water transport, their deletion does not impair airway hydration, regulation of airway surface liquid, or fluid absorption. In contrast to these negative findings, AQP5 deletion in submucosal glands reduced fluid secretion by >50%. The substantially slower fluid transport in the lung compared to renal and secretory epithelia probably accounts for the lack of functional significance of AQPs in the lung and airways. Recent data outside of the lung implicating the involvement of AQPs in cell migration and proliferation suggests possible new roles for lung AQPs to be explored.

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