Dynamic regulation of aquaporin-4 water channels in neurological disorders
Croatian Medical Journal
Aquaporin-4 water channels play a central role in brain water regulation in neurological disorders. Aquaporin-4 is abundantly expressed at the astroglial endfeet facing the cerebral vasculature and the pial membrane, and both its expression level and subcellular localization significantly influence brain water transport. However, measurements of aquaporin-4 levels in animal models of brain injury often report opposite trends of change at the injury core and the penumbra. Furthermore,
... channels play a beneficial role in brain water clearance in vasogenic edema, but a detrimental role in cytotoxic edema and exacerbate cell swelling. In light of current evidence, we still do not have a complete understanding of the role of aquaporin-4 in brain water transport. In this review, we propose that the regulatory mechanisms of aquaporin-4 at the transcriptional, translational, and post-translational levels jointly regulate water permeability in the short and long time scale after injury. Furthermore, in order to understand why aquaporin-4 channels play opposing roles in cytotoxic and vasogenic edema, we discuss experimental evidence on the dynamically changing osmotic gradients between blood, extracellular space, and the cytosol during the formation of cytotoxic and vasogenic edema. We conclude with an emerging picture of the distinct osmotic environments in cytotoxic and vasogenic edema, and propose that the directions of aquaporin-4-mediated water clearance in these two types of edema are distinct. The difference in water clearance pathways may provide an explanation for the conflicting observations of the roles of aquaporin-4 in edema resolution.