Aquaporins and Fetal Membranes From Diabetic Parturient Women: Expression Abnormalities and Regulation by Insulin

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Oct;100(10):E1270-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2015-2057. Epub 2015 Jul 24.


Context: During pregnancy, aquaporins (AQPs) expressed in fetal membranes are essential for controlling the homeostasis of the amniotic volume, but their regulation by insulin was never explored in diabetic women.

Objective: The aim of our study was to investigate the involvement of AQPs 1, 3, 8, and 9 expressed in fetal membranes in diabetic parturient women and the control of their expression by insulin.

Design and participants: From 129 fetal membranes in four populations (controls, type 1, type 2 [T2D], and gestational diabetes [GD]), we established an expression AQP profile. In a second step, the amnion was used to study the control of the expression and functions of AQPs 3 and 9 by insulin.

Main outcomes and measures: The expression of transcripts and proteins of AQPs was studied by quantitative RT-PCR and ELISA. We analyzed the regulation by insulin of the expression of AQPs 3 and 9 in the amnion. A tritiated glycerol test enabled us to measure the impact of insulin on the functional characteristics. Using an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, we analyzed the insulin intracellular signaling pathway.

Results: The expression of AQP3 protein was significantly weaker in groups T2D and GD. In nondiabetic fetal membranes, we showed for the amnion (but not for the chorion) a significant repression by insulin of the transcriptional expression of AQPs 3 and 9, which was blocked by a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor.

Conclusion: In fetal membranes, the repression of AQP3 protein expression and functions observed in vivo is allowed by the hyperinsulinism described in pregnant women with T2D or GD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amnion / drug effects*
  • Amnion / metabolism
  • Aquaporin 1 / genetics
  • Aquaporin 1 / metabolism
  • Aquaporin 3 / genetics
  • Aquaporin 3 / metabolism*
  • Aquaporins / genetics
  • Aquaporins / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Extraembryonic Membranes / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / metabolism


  • AQP9 protein, human
  • Aquaporins
  • Insulin
  • aquaporin 8
  • Aquaporin 1
  • Aquaporin 3