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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X

Abstract

GALLARDO, PEDRO; HERRERA, SOFÍA; SAFFER, KARIN  and  BOZINOVIC, FRANCISCO. Distribution of aquaporins in the nasal passage of Octodon degus, a South-American desert rodent and its implications for water conservation. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2008, vol.81, n.1, pp.33-40. ISSN 0716-078X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-078X2008000100003.

Rodents from arid and semiarid environments live under conditions where the spatial and temporal availability of water is limited. Octodon degus is a South-American desert-dwelling rodent inhabiting arid and semiarid habitats of central and northern Chile. Its survival depends on morphological, physiological and behavioral adaptations that allow water conservation. This rodent has a high urine concentrating ability, high capacity of fecal dehydration and low evaporative water loss, related to the ability of the nasal passages to condense water from the exhaled air; this water must be absorbed in order to avoid its accumulation in the nasal passages and potential loss through the nostrils. We hypothesize that aquaporins (AQPs) might be present in the nasal mucosa; therefore, we studied the distribution of AQP-1, AQP-2, AQP-3 and AQP-4 through immunocytochemistry. Intense AQP-1 labeling was observed throughout the subepithelial vascular network; no AQP-1 immunoreactivity was detected in olfactory and non-olfactory epithelial cells. No signal was detected for AQP-2 and 4. AQP-3 distribution was restricted to the surface non-olfactory epithelial cells lining the turbinates in narrow passages and blind spaces. Therefore, AQP-1 and AQP-3 coincided at the level of the turbinates, although in different cell types which suggest a pathway for water removal from the nasal surface first through AQP-3 in non-olfactory epithelial cells and then into the capillary lumen through AQP-1

Keywords : aquaporin; nasal passage; desert rodent.

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