Water transport between the perilymph and endolymph is important in regulations of volume and osmotic pressure of the inner ear labyrinth. It is now known that expression of water channels (aquaporins or AQPs) in the cell membrane dramatically increases the ability of water to cross epithelial cells. The aims of the current study were to investigate the cellular localization of AQPs by immunolabeling, and to study the developmental expression and relative abundance of various subtypes of AQPs. We report here that AQP3, AQP7 and AQP9 were expressed in the inner ear. Specific subtypes of AQPs were found in discrete regions expressed by both epithelial cells and fibrocytes in cochlear and vestibular organs. Semi-quantitative measurements showed that AQP4 and AQP1 were the two most abundantly expressed AQP subtypes in the inner ear, and their expressions were dramatically upregulated during development. These data showed a highly localized and largely non-overlapping distribution pattern for different subtypes of AQPs in the inner ear, suggesting the existence of regional subtype-specific water transport pathways, and global regulation of water transport in the inner ear may require concerted actions of multiple types of AQPs.
- Fluid regulation in the inner ear
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems