Identification of the aquaporin (AQP) protein family more than twenty years ago has ushered in an era where water and neutral solute trafficking is considered a prime target for pharmacological intervention. Using AQP modulation as a basis for the treatment of human disorders has been suggested by phenotype analysis involving specific AQP-null animals, as well as by pathohistological studies. Based on those reports, a wide variety of disorders, such as cerebral edema, cancer and malaria, are considered indications for AQP modulators. Recent studies have also identified several small molecule AQP modulators that can be used to test those hypotheses in disease models. We believe these studies and compounds form the basis from which future treatments and diagnostic protocols of aquaporin-based disorders will be developed.
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