Aquaporin 4 expression in the hippocampus in sudden infant death syndrome and sudden unexplained death in childhood

J Chem Neuroanat. 2021 Sep:115:101962. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2021.101962. Epub 2021 May 1.


Aquaporin 4 (AQP4) is the main membrane water channel in the brain involved in regulating water homeostasis. The water distribution in neural tissue is often dysregulated after hypoxic neural injury. Previous research has indicated that victims of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC) have an underlying brain dysfunction that impairs their critical arousal response to hypoxic stress during sleep. The aim of this study was to determine the expression levels of AQP4 in the hippocampus in SIDS/SUDC cases and controls, and compare the findings with AQP4 genotypes that previously have been shown to be associated with SIDS. Immunochemical staining and morphometry were used to evaluate the density of AQP4-positive astrocytes in 30 SIDS/SUDC cases and 26 controls. AQP4-positive cells were counted in grids covering three layers in the hippocampus, which revealed that their count in any of the layers did not differ significantly between cases and controls. A decline in AQP4 expression was observed for infants older than 12 weeks. The AQP4 expression was lower in infants and children with the rs2075575 CT/TT genotype than in those with the CC genotype. This study indicates that AQP4 expression may be influenced by both age and genotype in infants. The role of AQP4 in the pathogenesis of SIDS remains to be elucidated.

Keywords: Aquaporin 4; Hippocampus; Immunohistochemistry; Sudden infant death syndrome; rs2075575.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aquaporin 4 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Sudden Infant Death / pathology*


  • Aquaporin 4