Roles of Aquaporins in Kidney Revealed by Transgenic Mice

Semin Nephrol. 2006 May;26(3):200-8. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2006.02.002.


Transgenic mouse models of aquaporin (AQP) deletion and mutation have been instructive in elucidating the role of AQPs in renal physiology. Mice lacking AQP1 are unable to concentrate their urine because of low water permeability in the proximal tubule, thin descending limb of Henle, and outer medullary descending vasa recta, resulting in defective near-isosmolar fluid absorption in the proximal tubule and defective countercurrent multiplication. Mice lacking functional AQP2, AQP3, or AQP4 manifest various degrees of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus resulting from reduced collecting duct water permeability. Mice lacking AQP7 and AQP8 can concentrate their urine fully, although AQP7 null mice manifest an interesting defect in glycerol reabsorption. Two unexpected renal phenotypes of AQP null mice have been discovered recently, including defective proximal tubule cell migration in AQP1 deficiency, and cystic renal disease in AQP11 deficiency. AQPs thus are important in several aspects of the urinary concentrating mechanism and in functions unrelated to tubular fluid transport. The mouse phenotype data suggest the renal AQPs as targets for the development of aquaretics and potentially for therapy of cystic renal disease and acute renal injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaporins / physiology*
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Concentrating Ability / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Water / metabolism


  • Aquaporins
  • Water