Aquaporin 4 is not present in normal porcine and human lamina cribrosa

Elizabeth C. Kimball, Sarah Quillen, Mary E. Pease, Casey Keuthan, Aru Nagalingam, Donald J. Zack, Thomas V. Johnson, Harry A. Quigley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aquaporin 4 is absent from astrocytes in the rodent optic nerve head, despite high expression in the retina and myelinated optic nerve. The purpose of this study was to quantify regional aquaporin channel expression in astrocytes of the porcine and human mouse optic nerve (ON). Ocular tissue sections were immunolabeled for aquaporins 1(AQP1), 4(AQP4), and 9(AQP9), myelin basic protein (MBP), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and alpha-dystroglycan (αDG) for their presence in retina, lamina, myelin transition zone (MTZ, region just posterior to lamina) and myelinated ON (MON). Semi- quantification of AQP4 labeling & real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) data were analyzed in retina and ON tissue. Porcine and control human eyes had abundant AQP4 in Müller cells, retinal astrocytes, and myelinated ON (MON), but minimal expression in the lamina cribrosa. AQP1 and AQP9 were present in retina, but not in the lamina. Immunolabeling of GFAP and αDG was similar in lamina, myelin transition zone (MTZ) and MON regions. Semi-quantitative AQP4 labeling was at background level in lamina, increasing in the MTZ, and highest in the MON (lamina vs MTZ, MON; p≤0.05, p≤0.01, respectively). Expression of AQP4 mRNA was minimal in lamina and substantial in MTZ and MON, while GFAP mRNA expression was uniform among the lamina, MTZ, and MON regions. Western blot assay showed AQP4 protein expression in the MON samples, but none was detected in the lamina tissue. The minimal presence of AQP4 in the lamina is a specific regional phenotype of astrocytes in the mammalian optic nerve head.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0268541
JournalPloS one
Issue number6 June
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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