Aquaporin 4 in Traumatic Brain Injury: From Molecular Pathways to Therapeutic Target

Neurochem Res. 2022 Apr;47(4):860-871. doi: 10.1007/s11064-021-03512-w. Epub 2022 Jan 28.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is known as an acute degenerative pathology of the central nervous system, and has been shown to increase brain aquaporin 4 (AQP4) expression. Various molecular mechanisms affect AQP4 expression, including neuronal high mobility group box 1, forkhead box O3a, vascular endothelial growth factor, hypoxia-inducible factor-1 α (HIF-1 α) sirtuin 2, NF-κB, Malat1, nerve growth factor and Angiotensin II receptor type 1. In addition, inhibition of AQP4 with FK-506, MK-801 (indirectly by targeting N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor), inactivation of adenosine A2A receptor, levetiracetam, adjudin, progesterone, estrogen, V1aR inhibitor, hypertonic saline, erythropoietin, poloxamer 188, brilliant blue G, HIF-1alpha inhibitor, normobaric oxygen therapy, astaxanthin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, sesamin, thaliporphine, magnesium, prebiotic fiber, resveratrol and omega-3, as well as AQP4 gene silencing lead to reduced edema upon TBI. This review summarizes current knowledge and evidence on the relationship between AQP4 and TBI, and the potential mechanisms involved.

Keywords: Aquaporin 4; Edema; Molecular mechanisms; Targeted therapy; Traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaporin 4 / metabolism
  • Brain Edema* / metabolism
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / drug therapy
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Aquaporin 4
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A