Water channels (aquaporins) and their role for postnatal adaptation

Pediatr Res. 2005 May;57(5 Pt 2):47R-53R. doi: 10.1203/01.PDR.0000159572.79074.0B. Epub 2005 Apr 6.


Birth is a transition from an underwater life in the uterus to a terrestrial life in a milieu where supply of water is limited. Rapid adaptation to the new environment is crucial for survival and health of infants. The discovery of a family of molecules-aquaporin (AQP) water channels-that are responsible for regulated water transport across cell membranes has made it possible to identify the molecular mechanisms behind the postnatal homeostatic adaptation and to better understand water imbalance-related disorders in infancy and childhood. Thirteen mammalian AQP isoforms have been identified, most of them having a unique tissue-specific pattern of expression. Most mammalian AQPs can be dynamically regulated, which makes them potential targets for the development of new drugs for diseases associated with disturbances in water homeostasis. This review deals with AQP in kidney, lung, and brain. Evidence is presented that AQPs are expressed in a specific age-dependent manner and that the timed expression of AQPs may have a crucial role during the early postnatal period.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Aquaporins / physiology*
  • Body Water
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Diffusion
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Nephrons / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Aquaporins
  • Protein Isoforms