Cell and tissue research

Immunohistochemical localization and mRNA expression of aquaporins in the macula utriculi of patients with Meniere's disease and acoustic neuroma.

PMID 20461409


Meniere's disease is nearly invariably associated with endolymphatic hydrops (the net accumulation of water in the inner ear endolymphatic space). Vestibular maculae utriculi were acquired from patients undergoing surgery for Meniere's disease and acoustic neuroma and from autopsy (subjects with normal hearing and balance). Quantitative immunostaining was conducted with antibodies against aquaporins (AQPs) 1, 4, and 6, Na(+)K(+)ATPase, Na(+)K(+)2Cl co-transporter (NKCC1), and alpha-syntrophin. mRNA was extracted from the surgically acquired utricles from subjects with Meniere's disease and acoustic neuroma to conduct quantitative real-time reverse transcription with polymerase chain reaction for AQP1, AQP4, and AQP6. AQP1 immunoreactivity (-IR) was located in blood vessels and fibrocytes in the underlying stroma, without any apparent alteration in Meniere's specimens when compared with acoustic neuroma and autopsy specimens. AQP4-IR localized to the epithelial basolateral supporting cells in Meniere's disease, acoustic neuroma, and autopsy. In specimens from subjects with Meniere's disease, AQP4-IR was significantly decreased compared with autopsy and acoustic neuroma specimens. AQP6-IR occurred in the sub-apical vestibular supporting cells in acoustic neuroma and autopsy samples. However, in Meniere's disease specimens, AQP6-IR was significantly increased and diffusely redistributed throughout the supporting cell cytoplasm. Na(+)K(+)ATPase, NKCC1, and alpha-syntrophin were expressed within sensory epithelia and were unaltered in Meniere's disease specimens. Expression of AQP1, AQP4, or AQP6 mRNA did not differ in vestibular endorgans from patients with Meniere's disease. Changes in AQP4 (decreased) and AQP6 (increased) expression in Meniere's disease specimens suggest that the supporting cell might be a cellular target.