Aquaporin-8 (AQP8) is a water-transporting protein expressed in organs of the mammalian gastrointestinal tract (salivary gland, liver, pancreas, small intestine, and colon) and in the testes, heart, kidney, and airways. We studied the phenotype of AQP8-null mice, and mice lacking AQP8, together with AQP1 or AQP5. AQP8-knockout mice lacked detectable AQP8 transcript and protein, and had reduced water permeability in plasma membranes from testes. Breeding of AQP8 heterozygous mice yielded AQP8-null mice, whose number, survival, and growth were not different from those of wild-type mice. Organ weight and serum/urine chemistries were similar in wild-type and AQP8-null mice, except for increased testicular weight in the null mice (4.8 +/- 0.7 vs. 7.3 +/- 0.3 mg/g body wt). Urinary concentrating ability in AQP8-null mice was unimpaired as assessed by urine osmolality (3,590 +/- 360 mosmol/kgH(2)O) and weight loss (22 +/- 2%) after 36-h water deprivation; urinary concentrating ability was similarly impaired in AQP1-null mice vs. AQP8/AQP1 double-knockout mice. Agonist-driven fluid secretion in salivary gland was not different in AQP8 vs. wild-type mice ( approximately 1 microl.min(-1).g body wt(-1)) or in AQP5-null mice vs. AQP8/AQP5 double-knockout mice. Closed intestinal loop measurements in vivo indicated unimpaired osmotically driven water transport, active fluid absorption, and cholera toxin-driven fluid secretion in AQP8-null mice. After 21 days on a 50% fat diet, wild-type and AQP8-null mice had similar weight gain ( approximately 15 g), with no evidence of steatorrhea or abnormalities in blood chemistries, except for mild hypertriglyceridemia in the null mice. The mild phenotype of AQP8-null mice was surprising in view of the multiple phenotype abnormalities found in mouse models of AQP1-5 deficiency.