Aquaporins (AQP) are channels in the cell membrane that mainly facilitate a passive transport of water. In the eye, AQPs are expressed in the ciliary body and retina and may contribute to the pathogenesis of glaucoma and optic neuropathy. We investigated the expression of AQP1, AQP3, AQP4, AQP5, AQP7 and AQP9 in human glaucoma eyes compared with normal eyes. Nine glaucoma eyes were examined. Of these, three eyes were diagnosed with primary open angle glaucoma; three eyes had neovascular glaucoma; and three eyes had chronic angle-closure glaucoma. Six eyes with normal intraocular pressure and without glaucoma were used as control. Immunohistochemistry was performed using antibodies against AQP1, AQP3, AQP4, AQP5, AQP7 and AQP9. For each specimen, optical densities of immunoprecipitates were measured using Photoshop and the staining intensities were calculated. Immunostaining showed labelling of AQP7 and AQP9 in the nonpigmented ciliary epithelium and the staining intensities were significantly decreased in glaucoma eyes (p = 0.003; p = 0.018). AQP7 expression in the Müller cell endfeet was increased (p = 0.046), and AQP9 labelling of the retinal ganglion cells (RGC) showed decreased intensity (p = 0.037). No difference in AQP1, AQP4 and AQP9 expression was found in the optic nerve fibres. This study is the first investigating AQPs in human glaucoma eyes. We found a reduced expression of AQP9 in the retinal ganglion cells of glaucoma eyes. Glaucoma also induced increased AQP7 expression in the Müller cell endfeet. In the ciliary body of glaucoma eyes, the expression of AQP7 and AQP9 was reduced. Therefore, the expression of AQPs seems to play a role in glaucoma.
Apmis : Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica, Et Immunologica Scandinavica, 2014, Vol 122, Issue 9, p. 772-780