• Aquaporin 4;
  • Astrocytes;
  • Central nervous system;
  • Neuropsychiatric disorders


Aquaporin 4 (AQP4) is the main water channel in the central nervous system (CNS) and specifically localized to astrocyte processes. Recent studies indicate that AQP4 regulates various biological functions of astrocytes, including maintaining CNS water balance, spatial buffering of extracellular potassium, calcium signal transduction, regulation of neurotransmission, synaptic plasticity, and adult neurogenesis, while under neuropathological conditions, AQP4 has a role in astrogliosis and proinflammatory cytokine secretion. In addition, accumulating evidence suggests that, besides cerebral edema, neuromyelitis optica and epilepsy, AQP4 participates in the onset and progression of Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, depression, and drug addiction. This review summarizes recent findings and highlights the involvement of AQP4 in astrocyte function and neuropsychiatric disorders.