Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) is one of the most abundant molecules in the brain and is particularly prevalent in astrocytic membranes at the blood-brain and brain-liquor interfaces. While AQP4 has been implicated in a number of pathophysiological processes, its role in brain physiology has remained elusive. Only recently has evidence accumulated to suggest that AQP4 is involved in such diverse functions as regulation of extracellular space volume, potassium buffering, cerebrospinal fluid circulation, interstitial fluid resorption, waste clearance, neuroinflammation, osmosensation, cell migration, and Ca(2+) signaling. AQP4 is also required for normal function of the retina, inner ear, and olfactory system. A review will be provided of the physiological roles of AQP4 in brain and of the growing list of data that emphasize the polarized nature of astrocytes.