Osmotic water permeability of rat intestinal brush border membrane vesicles: involvement of aquaporin-7 and aquaporin-8 and effect of metal ions

Biochem Cell Biol. 2007 Dec;85(6):675-84. doi: 10.1139/o07-142.


Water channels AQP7 and AQP8 may be involved in transcellular water movement in the small intestine. We show that both AQP7 and AQP8 mRNA are expressed in rat small intestine. Immunoblot and immunohistochemistry experiments demonstrate that AQP7 and AQP8 proteins are present in the apical brush border membrane of intestinal epithelial cells. We investigated the effect of several metals and pH on the osmotic water permeability (Pf) of brush border membrane vesicles (BBMVs) and of AQP7 and AQP8 expressed in a cell line. Hg2+, Cu2+, and Zn2+ caused a significant decrease in the BBMV Pf, whereas Ni2+ and Li+ had no effect. AQP8-transfected cells showed a reduction in Pf in the presence of Hg2+ and Cu2+, whereas AQP7-transfected cells were insensitive to all tested metals. The Pf of both BBMVs and cells transfected with AQP7 and AQP8 was not affected by pH changes within the physiological range, and the Pf of BBMVs alone was not affected by phlorizin or amiloride. Our results indicate that AQP7 and AQP8 may play a role in water movement via the apical domain of small intestine epithelial cells. AQP8 may contribute to the water-imbalance-related clinical symptoms apparent after ingestion of high doses of Hg2+ and Cu2+.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaporins / genetics
  • Aquaporins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects*
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / drug effects
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / metabolism
  • Cytoplasmic Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration / drug effects
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Intestines / ultrastructure*
  • Jejunum / cytology
  • Jejunum / drug effects
  • Jejunum / metabolism
  • Metals / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Microvilli / drug effects
  • Microvilli / metabolism
  • Osmosis / drug effects
  • Protein Transport / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Transfection
  • Water / metabolism*


  • Aqp7 protein, rat
  • Aquaporins
  • Metals
  • RNA, Messenger
  • aquaporin 8
  • Water