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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2005 May;288(5):C1048-57. Epub 2005 Jan 12.

Regulation of the immunoexpression of aquaporin 9 by ovarian hormones in the rat oviductal epithelium.

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  • 1Alameda 340, Santiago, Chile.


The volume of oviductal fluid fluctuates during the estrous cycle, suggesting that water availability is under hormonal control. It has been postulated that sex-steroid hormones may regulate aquaporin (AQP) channels involved in water movement across cell membranes. Using a functional assay (oocytes of Xenopus laevis), we demonstrated that the rat oviductal epithelium contains mRNAs coding for water channels, and we identified by RT-PCR the mRNAs for AQP5, -8, and -9, but not for AQP2 and -3. The immunoreactivity for AQP5, -8, and -9 was localized only in epithelial cells of the oviduct. The distribution of AQP5 and -8 was mainly cytoplasmic, whereas we confirmed, by confocal microscopy, that AQP9 localized to the apical plasma membrane. Staining of AQP5, -8, and -9 was lost after ovariectomy, and only AQP9 immunoreactivity was restored after estradiol and/or progesterone treatments. The recovery of AQP9 reactivity after ovariectomy correlated with increased mRNA and protein levels after treatment with estradiol alone or progesterone administration after estradiol priming. Interestingly, progesterone administration after progesterone priming also induced AQP9 expression but without a change in mRNA levels. Levels of AQP9 varied along the estrous cycle with their highest levels during proestrus and estrus. These results indicate that steroid hormones regulate AQP9 expression at the mRNA and protein level and that other ovarian signals are involved in the expression of AQP5 and -8. Thus hormonal regulation of the type and quantity of water channels in this epithelium might control water transport in the oviductal lumen.

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