Diabetes induces expression of aquaporin-0 in the retinal nerve fibers of spontaneously diabetic Torii rats.Exp Eye Res. 2011 Mar; 92(3):195-201.EE
Diabetes redistributes the expression of glial aquaporin (AQP) water channels in the retina. However, it is not known whether diabetes also affects retinal AQP-0 expression. This study examined the effects of the development of diabetes on the expression of retinal AQP-0 in spontaneously diabetic Torii (SDT) rats. Male SDT rats at 10 and 40 weeks of age and age-matched male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were used. The localization of AQP-0 was assessed immunohistochemically using sagittal cryosections of the rats' retinas and optic nerves. Fold changes in AQP-0 gene expression relative to controls were assessed by real-time RT-PCR. All SDT rats spontaneously developed diabetes by 40 weeks of age (the mean hemoglobin (Hb) A1c levels were 2.8±0.2% and 11.2±1.0% at 10 and 40 weeks, respectively). SD rats did not develop diabetes (the HbA1c levels were 2.7±0.2% and 2.6±0.3% at 10 and 40 weeks, respectively). In the retinas of SD rats and in those of SDT rats at 10 weeks of age, immunoreactivity for AQP-0 was confined predominantly to the inner nuclear layer and to the border between the inner plexiform layer and the ganglion cell layer (GCL), where AQP-0 colocalized with protein kinase C-α. AQP-0 immunoreactivity was also observed in the GCL to a lesser degree, which colocalized with the neuronal nuclei. In the 40-week-old SDT rat retinas, additional AQP-0 immunoreactivity was observed in the GCL and colocalized with neurofilaments, indicating expression of AQP-0 in ganglion cell axons. However, the axonal AQP-0 immunoreactivity was restricted to the retinal nerve fibers, whereas the optic nerve axons were devoid of AQP-0. Retinal blood vessels did not express AQP-0. AQP-0 gene expression was 3.4-fold higher in SDT rat retinas than in SD rat retinas at 40 weeks of age. AQP-0 was predominantly expressed in the bipolar cells of the non-diabetic rat retinas, whereas it was also expressed in the retinal nerve fibers of diabetic rat retinas. The disrupted water transport between astrocytes and retinal nerve fibers may be associated with the known accelerated apoptosis of retinal ganglion cells induced by diabetes.