Immunolocalization of AQP-5 in rat parotid and submandibular salivary glands after stimulation or inhibition of secretion in vivo

Veronika Gresz, Tae Hwan Kwon, Hong Gong, Peter Agre, Martin C. Steward, Landon S. King, Søren Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


In vitro studies of cultured salivary gland cells and gland slices have indicated that there may be regulated translocation of aquaporin (AQP)-5 between the apical plasma membrane and intracellular compartments of the secretory cells. However, it remains unknown whether AQP-5 in salivary glands is subject to regulated trafficking in vivo. To examine this possibility, we have investigated the subcellular localization of AQP-5 in rat parotid and submandibular glands fixed in vivo under conditions of stimulated or inhibited salivary secretion. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy was used to determine the subcellular distribution of AQP-5 in control conditions following the stimulation of secretion with pilocarpine (a muscarinic agonist) or epinephrine (an α-adrenoceptor agonist) or during inhibition of basal secretion with atropine (a muscarinic antagonist) or phentolamine (an α-adrenoceptor antagonist). Under control conditions, >90% of AQP-5 was associated with the apical plasma membrane of acinar and intercalated duct cells, with only rare gold particles associated with intracellular membrane domains. Pilocarpine treatment dramatically increased saliva production but had no discernible effect on AQP-5 distribution. However, the increased salivary secretion was associated with luminal dilation and the appearance of a markedly punctate AQP-5 labeling pattern due to clustering of AQP-5 at the microvilli (especially evident in the parotid gland) after 10 min of drug injection. No changes in the subcellular localization of AQP-5 were seen in response to epinephrine, atropine, or phentolamine treatment compared with control tissues. Thus AQP-5 is localized predominantly in the apical plasma membrane under control conditions, and neither the onset nor the cessation of secretion is associated in vivo with any significant short-term translocation of AQP-5 between intracellular structures and the apical plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G151-G161
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1 50-1
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Aquaporin
  • Aquaporin-5
  • Pilocarpine
  • Salivary secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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