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Mol Aspects Med. 2012 Oct-Dec;33(5-6):642-50. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2012.03.001. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Water channel proteins in the gastrointestinal tract.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, Section of Human Physiology, University of Pavia, Via Forlanini 6, I-27100 Pavia, Italy.


Water transport through the human digestive system is physiologically crucial for maintaining body water homeostasis and ensure digestive and absorptive functions. Within the gastrointestinal tract, water recirculates, being secreted with the digestive juices and then almost entirely absorbed by the small and large intestine. The importance of aquaporins (AQPs), transmembrane water channel proteins, in the rapid passage of water across plasma membranes in the gastrointestinal tract appears immediately evident. Several AQP isoforms are found in gastrointestinal epithelia, with AQP1, 3, 7, 10 and 11 being the most abundantly expressed in the whole gut. On the other hand, AQP4 and 8 are located selectively in the stomach and colon, respectively. Here we review AQP expression and localization at the tissue, cellular and subcellular level in gastrointestinal epithelia, and their modification in various gut diseases.

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