Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Aqp5−/− mice exhibit reduced maximal body O2 consumption under cold exposure, normal pulmonary gas exchange, and impaired formation of brown adipose tissue

The fundamental body functions that determine maximal O2 uptake (V̇o2max) have not been studied in Aqp5-/- mice (aquaporin 5, AQP5). We measured V̇o2max to globally assess these functions and then investigated why it was found altered in Aqp5-/- mice. V̇o2max was measured by the Helox technique, which elicits maximal metabolic rate by intense cold exposure of the animals. We found V̇o2max reduced in Aqp5-/- mice by 20%-30% compared with wild-type (WT) mice. As AQP5 has been implicated to act as a membrane channel for respiratory gases, we studied whether this is caused by the known lack of AQP5 in the alveolar epithelial membranes of Aqp5-/- mice. Lung function parameters as well as arterial O2 saturation were normal and identical between Aqp5-/- and WT mice, indicating that AQP5 does not contribute to pulmonary O2 exchange. The cause for the decreased V̇o2max thus might be found in decreased O2 consumption of an intensely O2-consuming peripheral organ such as activated brown adipose tissue (BAT). We found indeed that absence of AQP5 greatly reduces the amount of interscapular BAT formed in response to 4 wk of cold exposure, from 63% in WT to 25% in Aqp5-/- animals. We conclude that lack of AQP5 does not affect pulmonary O2 exchange, but greatly inhibits transformation of white to brown adipose tissue. As under cold exposure, BAT is a major source of the animals' heat production, reduction of BAT likely causes the decrease in V̇o2max under this condition.

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