Glucocorticoids increase osmotic water permeability (Pf) of neonatal rabbit renal brush border membrane vesicles

Jaap Mulder, Sumana Chakravarty, Maha N. Haddad, Michel Baum, Raymond Quigley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


During postnatal maturation, there is an increase in renal brush border membrane vesicle (BBMV) osmotic water permeability and a parallel increase in aquaporin-1 (AQP1) protein abundance. The mechanisms responsible for these changes remain unknown. Because serum glucocorticoid levels rise postnatally and have previously been linked to other maturational changes in renal function, we examined the effects of glucocorticoids on osmotic (Pf) and diffusional (PDW) water permeability and AQP1 protein abundance of renal BBMV. Neonatal rabbits were treated with dexamethasone (10 μg/100 g) for three days and compared with control neonates and adults. Pf and PDW were measured at 20°C with a stopped-flow apparatus using light-scattering and aminonaphthalene trisulfonic acid (ANTS) fluorescence, respectively. Pf was significantly higher in BBMV from dexamethasone-treated neonates compared with vehicle-treated neonates, but remained lower than in BBMV from adults (P < 0.05). PDW in dexamethasone and vehicle-treated neonatal BBMV was lower than in adult BBMV. Pf/PDW ratio increased from neonate (5.1 ± 0.3) to dexamethasone (7.0 ± 0.1) and adult BBMV (6.3 ± 0.1). AQP1 expression was increased by dexamethasone treatment to adult levels. Membrane fluidity, which is inversely related to generalized polarization (GP) of steady-state laurdan fluorescence, was significantly higher in neonatal BBMV than both dexamethasone and adult BBMV (GP: neonate 0.285 ± 0.002, dexamethasone treatment 0.302 ± 0.006, and adult 0.300 ± 0.005; P < 0.05). These combined results show that dexamethasone-treatment during, days 4-7 of life increases BBMV water permeability despite a decrease in membrane fluidity. This occurs by increasing channel-mediated water transport, as reflected in an increase in AQP1 protein abundance and a higher P f/PDW ratio. This mimics the maturational changes and suggests a physiological role for glucocorticoids in maturation of proximal tubule water transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1417-R1421
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 57-5
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Aquaporin
  • Development
  • Diffusional water permeability
  • Stop-flow kinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Glucocorticoids increase osmotic water permeability (Pf) of neonatal rabbit renal brush border membrane vesicles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this