Distribution of aquaporin 1 in the rat pancreatic duct system examined with light- and electron-microscopic immunohistochemistry

Sonoko Furuya, Satoru Naruse, Shigeru B. Ko, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Toshiyuki Yoshikawa, Tetsuo Hayakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The pancreatic duct is the major site for the secretion of pancreatic fluid, but the pathway of water transport in this system is not known. Recently, intense signal for mRNA of aquaporin 1 (AQP1) water channels was detected in isolated rat interlobular ducts. Therefore, we performed light- and electron-microscopic (EM) immunohistochemistry for AQP1 in the rat pancreatic ducts. AQP1 immunoproducts were not observed in the acinar cells, centroacinar cells or intercalated ducts. In the smaller intralobular ducts less than 10 μm in diameter (the lumen plus duct cells), most cells were immunonegative. AQP1-positive cells appeared in intralobular ducts 10-15 μm in diameter. In small and medium-sized interlobular ducts 15-70 μm in diameter surrounded by periductal connective tissue 2-40 μm thick, most cells were AQP1 positive with various degrees of immunoreactivity. In the larger interlobular ducts, the expression of AQP1 was variable, ranging from immunopositive to negative. In the main pancreatic duct, most cells were negative for AQP1. EM immunohistochemistry of the intralobular and small interlobular ductal epithelial cells showed that the AQP1 immunoproducts were more abundant in the basolateral membrane than in the apical membrane, though they were present in both membranes. In the medium-sized interlobular ducts, AQP1 immunoproducts were distributed densely along the apical, lateral interdigitation and basal membrane of the epithelial cells. In the various sizes of interlobular ducts, immunoproducts were associated not only with the plasma membrane, but also with the caveolae and vesicle-like structures. Secretin did not induce any significant difference in AQP1 expression and cellular and subcellular localization. These results indicate that the expression and subcellular localization of AQP1 vary considerably depending on the duct size, which may reflect water transport characteristics in the different divisions of the pancreatic duct system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • AQP1
  • Duct
  • Electron microscopy
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Pancreas
  • Rat (Wistar, SD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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