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Neurol Sci. 2013 Aug;34(8):1309-14. doi: 10.1007/s10072-012-1233-4. Epub 2012 Nov 10.

Aquaporin-4 distribution in control and stressed astrocytes in culture and in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with traumatic brain injuries.

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Department of di Experimental Biomedicine and Clinical Neurosciences (BIONEC), University of Palermo, I-90127, Palermo, Italy.


Distribution of aquaporin-4 (AQP4) was studied by western analysis and immunofluorescence in rat astrocytes exposed to either hypothermic (30 °C) or hyperosmolar (0.45 M sucrose) stress, and in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients who suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI). CSF was obtained from 5 healthy subjects and from 20 patients suffering from severe TBI. CSF samples were taken at admission and on days 3 and 5-7. Here we report that, in response to both hypothermia and hyperosmolar stress, AQP4 was markedly reduced in cultured astrocytes. We also found that AQP4 significantly increased in patients with severe brain injury in respect to healthy subjects (P < 0.002). AQP4 in CSF remained unchanged in patients with elevated intracranial pressure (ICP), whereas there was a clear tendency to further increase in those patients whose ICP could be controlled within the normal range. We conclude that AQP4 levels in CSF are elevated after TBI and it might serve as a useful biochemical marker to assess brain water metabolism in clinical settings.

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