Aquaporin-4-deficient mice have increased extracellular space without tortuosity change

Department of Neurosurgery and Brain and Spinal Injury Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94110, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 06/2008; 28(21):5460-4. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0257-08.2008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) is the major water channel expressed at fluid-tissue barriers throughout the brain and plays a crucial role in cerebral water balance. To assess whether these channels influence brain extracellular space (ECS) under resting physiological conditions, we used the established real-time iontophoresis method with tetramethylammonium (TMA(+)) to measure three diffusion parameters: ECS volume fraction (alpha), tortuosity (lambda), and TMA(+) loss (k'). In vivo measurements were performed in the somatosensory cortex of AQP4-deficient (AQP4(-/-)) mice and wild-type controls with matched age. Mice lacking AQP4 showed a 28% increase in alpha (0.23 +/- 0.007 vs 0.18 +/- 0.003) with no differences in lambda (1.62 +/- 0.04 vs 1.61 +/- 0.02) and k' (0.0045 +/- 0.0001 vs 0.0031 +/- 0.0009 s(-1)). Additional recordings in brain slices showed similarly elevated alpha in AQP4(-/-) mice, and no differences in lambda and k' between the two genotypes. This is the first direct comparison of ECS properties in adult mice lacking AQP4 water channels with wild-type animals and demonstrates a significant enlargement of the volume fraction but no difference in hindrance to TMA(+) diffusion, expressed as tortuosity. These findings provide direct evidence for involvement of AQP4 in modulation of the ECS volume fraction and provide a basis for future modeling of water and ion transport in the CNS.

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