Impaired olfaction in mice lacking aquaporin-4 water channels.

Daniel C Lu, Hua Zhang, Zsolt Zador, A S Verkman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) is a water-selective transport protein expressed in glial cells throughout the central nervous system. AQP4 deletion in mice produces alterations in several neuroexcitation phenomena, including hearing, vision, epilepsy, and cortical spreading depression. Here, we report defective olfaction and electroolfactogram responses in AQP4-null mice. Immunofluorescence indicated strong AQP4 expression in supportive cells of the nasal olfactory epithelium. The olfactory epithelium in AQP4-null mice had identical appearance, but did not express AQP4, and had approximately 12-fold reduced osmotic water permeability. Behavioral analysis showed greatly impaired olfaction in AQP4-null mice, with latency times of 17 +/- 0.7 vs. 55 +/- 5 s in wild-type vs. AQP4-null mice in a buried food pellet test, which was confirmed using an olfactory maze test. Electroolfactogram voltage responses to multiple odorants were reduced in AQP4-null mice, with maximal responses to triethylamine of 0.80 +/- 0.07 vs. 0.28 +/- 0.03 mV. Similar olfaction and electroolfactogram defects were found in outbred (CD1) and inbred (C57/bl6) mouse genetic backgrounds. Our results establish AQP4 as a novel determinant of olfaction, the deficiency of which probably impairs extracellular space K(+) buffering in the olfactory epithelium.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
    Volume22
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

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