BACKGROUND: Preventing or reducing amyloid-beta (Aβ) accumulation in the brain is an important therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recent studies showed that the water channel aquaporin-4 (AQP4) mediates soluble Aβ clearance from the brain parenchyma along the paravascular pathway. However the direct evidence for roles of AQP4 in the pathophysiology of AD remains absent.

RESULTS: Here, we reported that the deletion of AQP4 exacerbated cognitive deficits of 12-moth old APP/PS1 mice, with increases in Aβ accumulation, cerebral amyloid angiopathy and loss of synaptic protein and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the hippocampus and cortex. Furthermore, AQP4 deficiency increased atrophy of astrocytes with significant decreases in interleukin-1 beta and nonsignificant decreases in interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in hippocampal and cerebral samples.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that AQP4 attenuates Aβ pathogenesis despite its potentially inflammatory side-effects, thus serving as a promising target for treating AD.

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Published in Molecular Neurodegeneration, v. 10, article 58, p. 1-16.

© 2015 Xu et al.

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No 81271210) and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Educational Department (14KJA320001).