Amniotic Aaquaporins (AQP) in Normal and Pathological Pregnancies: Interest in Polyhydramnios


Polyhydramnios is a common feature diagnosed by ultrasound in the second half of pregnancy. Biochemical analysis of amniotic fluid can be useful when suspecting Bartter syndrome or digestive atresia but in most of cases, no etiology of polyhydramnios is found because of the complex regulation of amniotic fluid. Aquaporins (AQP) are transmembrane channel proteins contributing to water transfers. Some of them are expressed in fetal membranes and placenta. Their expression has been shown to be disrupted in some pathological conditions such as maternal diabetes, often associated with polyhydramnios. AQP-1, 3 and 8 levels in amniotic fluid were retrospectively measured in patients suffering from polyhydramnios (n=21) from 23 weeks of gestation (WG). They were compared to the levels observed in control subjects (n=96) and their relationship with maternal factors and neonatal issues was analyzed. AQP-1, 3, 8 levels were physiologically fluctuating, AQP-1 levels always being the lowest and AQP-3 the highest, with a significant decrease at the end of pregnancy. AQPs/AFP ratios increased about 8 folds during pregnancy, their kinetic profiles reflecting physiological dynamic evolution of amniotic fluid volume. In polyhydramnios, AQP-3 level tended to be decreased whereas AQP-8 level was decreased from mid-gestation whatever the etiology of polyhydramnios. No significant relationship was found between AQPs levels and either the fetal prematurity degree or macrosomia. No specific pattern was observed in idiopathic polyhydramnios, limiting the interest of AQPs dosage in amniotic fluid in the management of those complicated pregnancies.