Aquaporins (AQPs) are membrane proteins that passively deliver water across the plasma membrane to play an important role in maintaining cell shape. Members of the AQP family are distributed in most of the tissues in the human body and perform a variety of functions based on the water homeostasis suitable for each organ. However, there is little known about the expression and regulation of AQP family members in chickens. Therefore, we determined the expression of AQPs in various tissues of chickens. Among 13 isotypes, AQP3 was highly expressed in the chicken oviduct. Expression of AQP3 messenger RNA (mRNA) increased in the magnum ( P < 0.001) and isthmus ( P < 0.001) of chick oviducts treated with diethylstilbestrol. Consistent with these results, the localization of AQP3 was detected in the glandular and luminal epithelia of the magnum and isthmus of oviducts of diethylstilbestrol-treated chicks. In addition, the pattern of expression of AQP3 changed in an estrogen-dependent manner during the molting period. During the regenerative period of the oviduct after molting, expression of AQP3 mRNA increased coordinately with increasing concentrations of estradiol ( P < 0.001), whereas expression of AQP3 mRNA decreased as concentrations of estradiol in plasma decreased in response to induced molting ( P < 0.001). Also, expression of the AQP3 increased ( P < 0.001) in cancerous ovaries of laying hens. In conclusion, AQP3 does not simply function to transport water into and out of cells but also appears to be closely involved in development of the chicken oviduct, which is regulated by estrogens. Furthermore, our results suggest AQP3 as a new diagnostic for early detection and treatment of epithelial cell-derived ovarian carcinomas.
- Ovarian cancer