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New insights of aquaporin 5 in the pathogenesis of high altitude pulmonary edema

Jun She, Jing Bi, Lin Tong, Yuanlin Song and Chunxue Bai*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, NO.180 Fenglin Road, Shanghai 200032, China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:193  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-193

Published: 25 November 2013



High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) affects individuals and is characterized by alveolar flooding with protein-rich edema as a consequence of blood-gas barrier disruption. In this study, we hypothesized that aquaporin 5 (AQP5) which is one kind of water channels may play a role in preservation of alveolar epithelial barrier integrity in high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).


Therefore, we established a model in Wildtype mice and AQP5 −/− mice were assingned to normoxic rest (NR), hypoxic rest (HR) and hypoxic exercise (HE) group. Mice were produced by training to walk at treadmill for exercising and chamber pressure was reduced to simulate climbing an altitude of 5000 m for 48 hours. Studies using BAL in HAPE mice to demonstrated that edema is caused leakage of albumin proteins and red cells across the alveolarcapillary barrier in the absence of any evidence of inflammation.


In this study, the Lung wet/dry weight ratio and broncholalveolar lavage protein concentrations were slightly increased in HE AQP5 −/− mice compared to wildtype mice. And histologic evidence of hemorrhagic pulmonary edema was distinctly shown in HE group. The lung Evan’s blue permeability of HE group was showed slightly increased compare to the wildtype groups, and HR group was showed a medium situation from normal to HAPE development compared with NR and HE group.


Deletion of AQP5 slightly increased lung edema and lung injury compared to wildtype mice during HAPE development, which suggested that the AQP5 plays an important role in HAPE formation induced by high altitude simulation.

Aquaporin 5 (AQP5); High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE); Inflammation; Wet/dry weight ratio