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FASEB J. 2019 Apr 29:fj201802769RR. doi: 10.1096/fj.201802769RR. [Epub ahead of print]

Aquaporin 4 deficiency alleviates experimental colitis in mice.

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Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Department of General Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.
Department of General Surgery, Northern Jiangsu People's Hospital, Clinical Medical School, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, China.
School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.


Aquaporin (AQP) 4 is expressed in the basolateral membrane of colonic epithelial cells, and the purpose of this study was to explore the mechanistic role of AQP4 in experimental colitis. Experimental colitis was induced in AQP4 knockout (AQP4-/-) CD-1 mice and AQP4 wild-type (AQP4wt) mice by oral administration of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). Experimental colitis was clinically established. Compared with AQP4wt mice, AQP4-/- mice showed increased tolerance to DSS-induced experimental colitis, including lesser degree of weight loss, diarrhea and bleeding, lower disease activity index scores, longer colon lengths, and lesser histologic scores. DSS-treated AQP4-/- mice had lower serum levels of IL-6 and TNF, higher IL-10 level, and lesser inflammatory cell infiltration. DSS-treated AQP4-/- mice also had lower immunostaining of NF-κB p65 as well as nuclear levels of p65 and phosphorylated p65. Sequencing of 16S rRNA indicated that DSS-treated AQP4-/- mice maintained intestinal microbial diversity and had higher Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratios and greater relative abundance of Erysipelotrichaceae species. These results suggested for the first time that AQP4 deficiency alleviates experimental colitis in mice. Our study helps to understand the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases, and blocking AQP4 may represent a novel therapeutic approach for ulcerative colitis.-Wang, L., Tang, H., Wang, C., Hu, Y., Wang, S., Shen, L. Aquaporin 4 deficiency alleviates experimental colitis in mice.


AQP4; gut microbiota; ulcerative colitis


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