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  • Author: Giuseppe Calamita x
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Giuseppe Calamita, Maria Moreno, Domenico Ferri, Elena Silvestri, Patrizia Roberti, Luigi Schiavo, Patrizia Gena, Maria Svelto and Fernando Goglia

The recent identification of aquaporin-8 (AQP8), an aquaporin (AQP) channel permeable to water and ammonia, in the inner membrane (IMM) of rat liver mitochondria suggested a role for such AQP in the hydration state and the metabolic function of mitochondria. Since thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) is known to modulate both the shape and the metabolic activities of liver mitochondria, it was interesting to investigate the expression and distribution of AQP8 as well as the osmotic water permeability of the IMM in liver mitochondria from rats in different thyroid states. By semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR, when compared with the euthyroid counterpart, the levels of hepatic AQP8 mRNA significantly increased in the hypothyroid state, whereas they were strongly decreased after administration of T3. A similar pattern was seen at the protein level by immunoblotting mitochondrial membranes. The upregulation of mitochondrial AQP8 in the hypothyroid liver was confirmed by immunogold electron microscopy. Stopped-flow light scattering with IMM vesicles showed no significant differences in terms of osmotic water permeability among the IMMs in the various thyroid states. Overall, our data indicate that the T3 modulation of the AQP8 gene is a rapid downregulation of transcription. Modulation of hepatic AQP8 expression may be relevant to the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism by thyroid hormones.