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J Physiol Pharmacol. 2016 Apr;67(2):185-93.

Aquaglyceroporins in the kidney: present state of knowledge and prospects.

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Department of Physiology, Cytobiology and Proteomics, Faculty of Biotechnology and Animal Husbandry, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Poland.


Aquaporins belong to a family of small, transmembrane proteins that form channels selectively permeable for water. Some of them known as aquaglyceroporins also enable transportation of other small molecules such as glycerol, urea or ammonia. To date, 13 isoforms of aquaporins has been discovered in mammals (AQP0 - AQP12), 9 of which is localized in different parts of the renal tubular epithelium. In recent years, particular interest has been paid to aquaporins selectively permeable only to water molecules, determination of their localization and expression allowed to define the role of these proteins in renal excretion of water and their importance in the development of diseases. Alas, thus far the role in the physiological processes of the aquaglyceroporins localized in the kidneys has not been fully determined. This review summarizes our current knowledge on additional transport functions of renal AQPs (AQP3, AQP6, AQP7 and AQP8). On the basis of the information gathered and the opinions by many authors, it has been found that aquaglyceroporins are most probably the key element in the renal regulation of nitrogen balance and maintenance of the correct pH of body fluids. Elucidating additional transport functions of AQPs in the kidney will improve our understanding of the renal function in heath and diseases. The presented in this article prospect on renal aquaglyceroporin hopefully will stimulate future research in both basic and clinical fields.

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