Water homeostasis of the nervous system is important during neural signal transduction. Astrocytes are crucial in water transport in the central nervous system under both physiological and pathological conditions. To date, five aquaporins (AQP) have been found in rat brain astrocytes. Most studies have focused on AQP4 and AQP9, however, little is known about the expression of AQP3, -5, and -8 as well as their regulating mechanism in astrocytes. The expression patterns of AQP3, -5, and -8 in astrocytes exposed to hyperosmotic solutions were examined to clarify the roles of AQP3, -5, and -8 in astrocyte water movement. The expression of AQP4 and AQP9 under the same hyperosmotic conditions was also investigated. The AQP4 and AQP9 expressions continuously increased until 12 h after hyperosmotic solution exposure, whereas the AQP3, -5, and -8 expressions continued to increase until 6 h after hyperosmotic solution exposure. The different AQPs decreased at corresponding time points (24 h for AQP4 andAQP9; 12 h for AQP3, -5, and -8 after hyperosmotic solution exposure). The ERK inhibitor can attenuate the expression of AQP3, -5, and -8 after hyperosmotic solution exposure. The p38 inhibitor can inhibit the AQP4 and AQP9 expressions in cultured astrocytes. AQP expression is directly related to the extracellular hyperosmotic stimuli. Moreover, different AQPs can be regulated by a distinct MAPK signal transduction pathway. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 111–119, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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