Aquaporins (AQPs) transport water through the membranes of numerous tissues, but the molecular mechanisms for regulating water balance in brain are unknown. In this study, we investigated the effects of a protein kinase A (PKA) activator on the expression of AQP4, 5 and 9 in cultured rat astrocytes. Treatment of the cells with dbcAMP caused decreases in AQP5 mRNA and protein and increases in AQP9 mRNA and protein in time- and concentration-dependent manners. However, AQP4 mRNA and protein were not changed by treatment with dbcAMP. The dbcAMP-induced effects on AQP5 and AQP9 mRNAs were inhibited by PKA inhibitors. In addition, pretreating the cells with an inhibitor of protein synthesis, cycloheximide, inhibited the increase in AQP9 mRNA induced by dbcAMP, but not the decrease in AQP5 mRNA. These results suggest that signal transduction via PKA may play important roles in regulating the expression of AQP5 and AQP9, and the effect on AQP9 may be mediated by some factors induced by dbcAMP.
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