Induction of brain aquaporin 9 (AQP9) in catecholaminergic neurons in diabetic rats.
Aquaporin 9 facilitates the diffusion of water but also glycerol and monocarboxylates, known as brain energy substrates. AQP9 was recently observed in catecholaminergic neurons that are implicated in energy homeostasis and also possibly in neuroendocrine effects of diabetes. Recently it has been observed that the level of AQP9 expression in hepatocytes is sensitive to the blood concentration of insulin. Furthermore, insulin injection in the brain is known to be related to the energy homeostasis. Based on these observations, we investigated if the concentration of insulin affects the level of brain AQP9 expression and if so, in which cell types. This study has been carried out, in a model of the diabetic rat generated by streptozotocin injection and on brainstem slices. In diabetic rats showing a decrease in systemic insulin concentration, AQP9 is only increased in brain areas containing catecholaminergic neurons. In contrast, no significant change is detected in the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum. Using immunocytochemistry, we are able to show that the increase in AQP9 expression is specifically present in catecholaminergic neurons. In brainstem slice cultures, 2 microM insulin induces a significant decrease in AQP9 protein levels 6 h after application, suggesting that brain AQP9 is also regulated by the insulin. These results show that the level of expression of brain AQP9 is affected by variations of the concentration of insulin in a diabetic model and in vitro.