Expression of the water channel protein aquaporin-9 in malignant brain tumors

Arne Warth, Michel Mittelbronn, Petra Hülper, Bernhard Erdlenbruch, Hartwig Wolburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, many studies seen concerning the expression and distribution of aquaporins and K channels in the central nervous system, and their physiological and pathophysiologic roles in water and ion homeostasis. Whereas most data were collected on aquaporin-4 (AQP4) in astrocytes, only little attention was paid to AQP9 which is a water channel transporting glycerol, mannitol, and urea as well. This is the first study describing AQP9 in human brain and human brain tumors. For comparison, we also investigated the immunohistochemical distribution of AQP9 in the rat glioma RG2. Whereas in the normal rat brain AQP9 is only weakly expressed by astrocytes, the anti-AQP9 immunoreactivity was found to be increased at the tumor border, but not within the tumor. In contrast, in human glioblastoma, most glioma cells throughout the tumor revealed a strong anti-AQP9 immunoreactivity across the whole surface of the cell. In the discussion, the increase of the anti-AQP9 immunoreactivity in glioma cells is suggested to reflect an upregulation and to counteract the glioma-associated lactic acidosis by clearance of glycerol and lactate from the extracellular space. In addition, the increased level of AQP9 immunoreactivity could be involved in the energy metabolism of the glioma and/or surrounding neuronal cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-198
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquaporin-9
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Brain edema
  • Glioblastoma
  • RG2 glioma


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