Differential expression and seasonal variation on aquaporins 1 and 9 in the male genital system of big fruit-eating bat Artibeus lituratus.Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2013 Jun 01; 186:116-25.GC
Efferent ductules and epididymis are involved in water and solute transport, which is indispensable for storage and maintenance of the sperm viability. The reabsorption process involves proteins such as aquaporins (AQP), which has been described in the male genital system of limited species, including primate, rodents, cats and dogs. To contribute with information about AQPs in the male system, here we investigated the distribution of AQP1 and AQP9 in the tropical bat Artibeus lituratus, along the annual reproductive cycle. A. lituratus is a seasonal breeder with natural variation in components of the androgen and estrogen responsive system, thus being a good model for exploring the AQPs modulation. AQP1 was found restricted to differentiating spermatids, efferent ductules epithelium and venular endothelia along the male tract. AQP9 was detected throughout the epididymis being more abundant in the cauda and ductus deferens, but was not found in testis, rete testis and efferent ductules. Contrasting with AQP1 which appear to be constitutively expressed, there was seasonal variation in AQP9 expression, which was reduced in regressed epididymis. The AQP9 does not appear to be modulated by estradiol or androgens, but possibly by other factor related to luminal sperm. The establishment of specific function for aquaporins in the male tract remains undetermined; however, the cellular distribution presently found are compatible with the main function of AQP1, as a selective water channel, and AQP9, which is a conduct for water and a plethora of neutral solutes present in the epididymis milieu such as glycerol and urea.