This study was designed to examine whether aquaporin 4 (AQP4) is present in the chicken oviduct, and if so, whether its expression changes during pause in laying induced by tamoxifen (TMX; oestrogen receptor modulator) treatment. The control chickens were injected with a vehicle (ethanol) and the experimental ones with TMX at a dose of 6 mg/kg of body weight. Birds were treated daily until complete cessation of egg laying. The oviductal parts, that is the infundibulum, magnum, isthmus, shell gland and vagina were isolated from hens on day 8 of the experiment, and subsequently, the gene and protein expressions of AQP4 in tissues were examined by real-time PCR and Western blot, respectively. Immunohistochemical localization of AQP4 in the wall of the chicken oviduct was also investigated. Both mRNA and protein of AQP4 were found in all segments of the chicken oviduct. The relative expression [RQ] of AQP4 was the highest in the infundibulum and the vagina and the lowest, less detectable, in the magnum and isthmus. The pattern of AQP4 protein expression was similar to that of mRNA. Treatment of hens with TMX decreased the mRNA and protein levels of AQP4 in the oviduct. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated tissue and cell-dependent localization of AQP4 protein in the oviductal wall. The intensity of the immunopositive reaction was as follows: the infundibulum > vagina > shell gland ≥ isthmus >> magnum. In the control chickens, the immunoreactivity for AQP4 in all oviductal segments was stronger compared with the TMX-treated hens. The results obtained indicate that AQP4 takes part in the regulation of water transport required for the formation of egg in the chicken oviduct. Moreover, a relationship between oestrogen action and AQP4 gene and protein expression is suggested.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology