Glucagon induces the gene expression of aquaporin-8 but not that of aquaporin-9 water channels in the rat hepatocyte

Leandro R. Soria, Sergio A. Gradilone, M. Cecilia Larocca, Raúl A. Marinelli

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29 Scopus citations


Glucagon stimulates the vesicle trafficking of aquaporin-8 (AQP8) water channels to the rat hepatocyte canalicular membranes, a process thought to be relevant to glucagoninduced bile secretion. In this study, we investigated whether glucagon is able to modulate the gene expression of hepatocyte AQP8. Glucagon was administered to rats at 0.2 mg/100 g body wt ip in 2, 3, or 6 equally spaced doses for 8, 16, and 36 h, respectively. Immunoblotting analysis showed that hepatic 34-kDa AQP8 was significantly increased by 79 and 107% at 16 and 36 h, respectively. Hepatic AQP9 protein expression remained unaltered. AQP8 mRNA expression, assessed by real-time PCR, was not modified over time, suggesting a posttranscriptional mechanism of AQP8 protein increase. Glucagon effects on AQP8 were directly studied in primary cultured rat hepatocytes. Immunoblotting and confocal immunofluorescence microscopy confirmed the specific glucagon-induced AQP8 upregulation. The RNA polymerase II inhibitor actinomycin D was unable to prevent glucagon effect, providing additional support to the nontranscriptional upregulation of AQP8. Cycloheximide also showed no effect, suggesting that glucagon-induced AQP8 expression does not depend on protein synthesis but rather on protein degradation. Inhibitory experiments suggest that a reduced calpain-mediated AQP8 proteolysis could be involved. The action of glucagon on hepatocyte AQP8 was mimicked by dibutyryl cAMP and suppressed by PKA or phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors. In conclusion, our data suggest that glucagon induces the gene expression of rat hepatocyte AQP8 by reducing its degradation, a process that involves cAMP-PKA and PI3K signal pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1274-R1281
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquaporins
  • Calpains
  • Liver
  • Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase
  • Protein kinase A


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