Aquaporins (AQP) are a family of transmembrane proteins that act as water selective channels. AQP1 and AQP4 are widely expressed in the central nervous system where they play several roles. Overexpression of AQP has been reported in some human and animal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, but information is scanty about their distribution in the central nervous system in bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Double immunohistochemistry for AQP1, AQP4 and GFAP was developed in a transgenic mouse line overexpressing the bovine cellular prion protein (BoTg110), intracerebrally infected with cattle BSE. Western blot for AQP1 and AQP4, and immunohistochemistry for both AQP and GFAP were carried out in cases of BSE-diagnosed cattle as part of surveillance plan in Catalonia (Spain). A marked increase in AQP1 and AQP4 was observed in mice at the terminal stage of the disease, when they had a wide range of clinical signs, whereas no increase could be observed in the early stage before the onset of the clinical signs. In cattle which did not show evidence of clinical signs, both AQP already showed a great increase. The AQP overexpression correlated with GFAP-immunoreactive astrocytes and PrPres deposition in both cases. The results of this study suggest that AQP overexpression in glial cells could lead to an imbalance in water and ion homeostasis which could contribute to triggering the typical histopathological changes of BSE. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Bovine spongiform encephalopathy
- Prion disease
- Prion protein
- Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
- Water channel