Adaptation to alkalosis induces cell cycle delay and apoptosis in cortical collecting duct cells: role of Aquaporin-2

J Cell Physiol. 2010 Aug;224(2):405-13. doi: 10.1002/jcp.22136.


Collecting ducts (CD) not only constitute the final site for regulating urine concentration by increasing apical membrane Aquaporin-2 (AQP2) expression, but are also essential for the control of acid-base status. The aim of this work was to examine, in renal cells, the effects of chronic alkalosis on cell growth/death as well as to define whether AQP2 expression plays any role during this adaptation. Two CD cell lines were used: WT- (not expressing AQPs) and AQP2-RCCD(1) (expressing apical AQP2). Our results showed that AQP2 expression per se accelerates cell proliferation by an increase in cell cycle progression. Chronic alkalosis induced, in both cells lines, a time-dependent reduction in cell growth. Even more, cell cycle movement, assessed by 5-bromodeoxyuridine pulse-chase and propidium iodide analyses, revealed a G2/M phase cell accumulation associated with longer S- and G2/M-transit times. This G2/M arrest is paralleled with changes consistent with apoptosis. All these effects appeared 24 h before and were always more pronounced in cells expressing AQP2. Moreover, in AQP2-expressing cells, part of the observed alkalosis cell growth decrease is explained by AQP2 protein down-regulation. We conclude that in CD cells alkalosis causes a reduction in cell growth by cell cycle delay that triggers apoptosis as an adaptive reaction to this environment stress. Since cell volume changes are prerequisite for the initiation of cell proliferation or apoptosis, we propose that AQP2 expression facilitates cell swelling or shrinkage leading to the activation of channels necessary to the control of these processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Alkalosis / pathology*
  • Alkalosis / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Aquaporin 2 / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Kidney Cortex / pathology
  • Kidney Tubules, Collecting / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Time Factors


  • Aquaporin 2