Aquaporins (AQP) have important solute transport functions in many tissues including the epididymal efferent ducts (ED) and in the liver. We investigated the effect of neonatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) on AQP9 expressions in the ED and in the liver of rats. DES was administered from day 2 to day 20 postnatally at a dose of 4,8 microg/day, and AQP9 protein and mRNA were measured by immunoblotting and real-time PCR, respectively, along with immunohistochemistry. DES caused hepatic downregulation of AQP9 at both the protein and mRNA level; however, decreased AQP9 labeling was only observed in the periportal zone. In the ED, AQP9 protein expression was increased in the DES-treated animals by 300% that could be ascribed to a widening of the ED lumen, whereas no difference was observed in AQP9 mRNA expression. Immunohistochemical findings revealed that AQP9 expression was confined to the epithelial cells of the ED. In conclusion, neonatal DES exposure appears to upregulate AQP9 channels in the ED in male rats, whereas a downregulation in the hepatic expression was observed, particularly in the periacinous area.
Keywords: Animals; Animals, Newborn; Aquaporins; Body Weight; Diethylstilbestrol; Epididymis; Gene Expression Regulation; Immunohistochemistry; Liver; Male; Organ Size; RNA, Messenger; Rats; Rats, Sprague-Dawley