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J Histochem Cytochem. 2004 Oct;52(10):1341-50.

Altered expression of aquaporins in bullous keratopathy and Fuchs' dystrophy corneas.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of California Irvine, Medical Center, 101 The City Drive, Orange, CA 92868, USA. mkenney@uci.edu


Corneas with edema-related diseases lose transparency, which causes significant vision loss. This study analyzed seven aquaporins (AQPs) in normal corneas, pseudophakic/aphakic bullous keratopathy (PBK/ABK) corneas, Fuchs' dystrophy corneas, keratoconus corneas, post-cataract surgery (PCS) corneas, and normal organ-cultured corneas. RNA levels for AQP1, AQP4, and beta2-microglobulin were measured by RT-PCR. AQP1 antibody localized to stromal cells of all corneas. PBK/ABK and Fuchs' dystrophy corneas had decreased endothelial cell staining compared with normal. AQP1 mRNA was found in whole corneas and cultured stromal fibroblasts but not in isolated epithelial cells. AQP3 staining was found in basal epithelial cells of the normal, Fuchs' dystrophy, and keratoconus corneas but throughout the entire epithelium of PBK/ABK corneas. AQP4 antibody localized to endothelial cells of all corneas and in stromal cells of PBK/ABK corneas. AQP4 mRNA was identified in whole human corneas. AQP5 was found in epithelial cells of all corneas. AQP0, AQP2, and AQP9 were not found in any corneas. Normal AQP distributions were found in PCS and organ-cultured corneas, although they showed signs of swelling. Our study demonstrates that AQP abnormalities are found in PBK/ABK corneas (decreased AQP1, increased AQP3 and AQP4) and Fuchs' dystrophy corneas (decreased AQP1). Although both have vision-disrupting corneal edema, the mechanisms of fluid accumulation may be different in each disease.

Copyright The Histochemical Society, Inc.

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