Mol Biosyst. 2015 Nov;11(11):3040-7. doi: 10.1039/c5mb00347d.

The involvement of aquaporin 1 in the hepatopulmonary syndrome rat serum-induced migration of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells via the p38-MAPK pathway.

Gao J1, Chen L, Zeng J, Cui J, Ning JL, Wang GS, Belguise K, Wang X, Qian GS, Lu KZ, Yi B.

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1Department of Anesthesia, Southwest Hospital, the Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China.


Hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) is characterized by arterial oxygenation defects induced by intrapulmonary vascular dilation (IPVD). Pulmonary vascular remodeling (PVR) is an important pathological feature of IPVD; however, the details regarding the underlying mechanisms of this process remain undefined. Recent studies have determined that the abnormal migration of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) plays a role in the pathogenesis of the PVR associated with HPS. Additionally, aquaporin 1 (AQP1) not only functions as a water channel molecule but also promotes cell migration by facilitating water transport in the lamellipodia of migrating cells. Common bile duct ligation (CBDL) rat is a well-accepted HPS model; we determined that the immunoperoxidase labeling of AQP1 was enhanced in the media of the pulmonary vessels in CBDL rats. HPS rat serum mediated the overexpression of AQP1 in PASMCs, and also upregulated PASMC migration. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that targeted rat AQP1 caused significant downregulation of AQP1, which resulted in decreased PASMC migration. Furthermore, the inhibition of the p38-MAPK pathway abolished AQP1-dependent PASMC migration. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that AQP1 enhanced PASMC migration via the p38-MAPK pathway in rat with HPS and may represent a potential therapeutic strategy in the setting of pulmonary vascular remodeling associated with HPS.