The brain has high-order functions and is composed of several kinds of cells, such as neurons and glial cells. It is becoming clear that many kinds of neurodegenerative diseases are more-or-less influenced by astrocytes, which are a type of glial cell. Aquaporin-4 (AQP4), a membrane-bound protein that regulates water permeability is a member of the aquaporin family of water channel proteins that is expressed in the endfeet of astrocytes in the central nervous system (CNS). Recently, AQP4 has been shown to function, not only as a water channel protein, but also as an adhesion molecule that is involved in cell migration and neuroexcitation, synaptic plasticity, and learning/memory through mechanisms involved in long-term potentiation or long-term depression. The most extensively examined role of AQP4 is its ability to act as a neuroimmunological inducer. Previously, we showed that AQP4 plays an important role in neuroimmunological functions in injured mouse brain in concert with the proinflammatory inducer osteopontin (OPN). The aim of this review is to summarize the functional implication of AQP4, focusing especially on its neuroimmunological roles. This review is a good opportunity to compile recent knowledge and could contribute to the therapeutic treatment of autoimmune diseases through strategies targeting AQP4. Finally, the author would like to hypothesize on AQP4’s role in interaction between reactive astrocytes and reactive microglial cells, which might occur in neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, a therapeutic strategy for AQP4-related neurodegenerative diseases is proposed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- コンピュータ サイエンスの応用