Author(s): Verkman AS
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Abstract The aquaporins are a family of membrane water channels, some of which also transport glycerol. They are involved in a wide range of physiological functions (including water/salt homeostasis, exocrine fluid secretion, and epidermal hydration) and human diseases (including glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, and obesity). At the cellular level, aquaporin-mediated osmotic water transport across cell plasma membranes facilitates transepithelial fluid transport, cell migration, and neuroexcitation; aquaporin-mediated glycerol transport regulates cell proliferation, adipocyte metabolism, and epidermal water retention. Genetic diseases caused by loss-of-function mutations in aquaporins include nephrogenic diabetes insipidus and congenital cataracts. The neuroinflammatory demyelinating disease neuromyelitis optica is marked by pathogenic autoantibodies against astrocyte water channel aquaporin-4. There remain broad opportunities for the development of aquaporin-based diagnostics and therapeutics. Disease-relevant aquaporin polymorphisms are beginning to be explored. There is great promise in the development of small-molecule aquaporin modulators for therapy of some types of refractory edema, brain swelling, neuroinflammation, glaucoma, epilepsy, cancer, pain, and obesity.
This article was published in Annu Rev Med
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism