Localization of aquaporin CHIP in the human eye: implications in the pathogenesis of glaucoma and other disorders of ocular fluid balance.
PURPOSE: The existence of integral membrane proteins that serve as selective water channels has been postulated to explain the movement of water across plasma membranes. Aquaporin CHIP (channel-forming integral membrane protein of 28 kd) is the first such channel to be characterized and is abundant in human erythrocytes and a variety of secretory and absorptive epithelia of the rat. Because disturbances in the movement of water characterize several ocular diseases, the distribution of CHIP in the human eye was studied. METHODS: Affinity-purified antibodies against purified CHIP protein were used for the indirect immunofluorescence localization of CHIP in human eye structures. Labeling was confirmed by immunoblot analyses of membrane preparations from eye structures. RESULTS: CHIP immunolabeling was found in the corneal endothelium, the lens epithelium, the nonpigmented epithelium of the ciliary process, the iris epithelium, and the endothelium of the trabecular meshwork and the canal of Schlemm. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of CHIP water channels in the secretory and absorptive tissues of the human eye provides a mechanism for transcellular water movement and may be important for understanding diseases of the eye that involve excess or insufficient movement of ocular fluid such as glaucoma, cataracts, and Fuch's dystrophy. In addition, the existence of CHIP in the outflow pathways of the human eye provides a novel explanation for the movement of water out of the eye.
Stamer, WD; Snyder, RW; Smith, BL; Agre, P; Regan, JW
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