, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 615–624 | Cite as

Anti-cancer effect of Aquaporin 5 silencing in colorectal cancer cells in association with inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin pathway

  • Wei Wang
  • Qing Li
  • Tao Yang
  • Dongsheng Li
  • Feng Ding
  • Hongzhi Sun
  • Guang BaiEmail author
Original Article


Aquaporin 5 (AQP5) is a water channel protein that is over-expressed in many tumors. Elevated expression of AQP5 is associated with poor prognosis of colorectal cancer. Yet, whether AQP5 plays a role in epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of colorectal cancer has not been reported until now. Here we aim to investigate the function of AQP5 in the EMT process of colorectal cancer. We transfected HCT116 and SW480 cells with AQP5-specific shRNA and verified the knockdown efficiency through western blotting and real-time PCR. Afterwards, scratch wound healing assay, invasion assay, gelatin zymography, immunofluorescence staining and immunoblotting were performed to assess the effect of AQP5 silencing in these two cells. The ability of migration and invasion of colorectal cancer cells was significantly impaired after AQP5 silencing. Correspondingly, the activity and expression of Matrix Metallopeptidase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 were reduced. Moreover, the expression levels of EMT-related factors were altered: E-cadherin, Tissue Inhibitor Of Metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1 and TIMP-2 were upregulated, whereas Vimentin, N-cadherin, Plasminogen Activator, Urokinase (uPA) and Snail were downregulated following knockdown of AQP5 in colorectal cancer cells. Furthermore, the expression of Wnt1 and β-catenin was markedly decreased after AQP5 knockdown. Interestingly, the alteration of EMT-related factors mediated by AQP5 knockdown could be reversed by upregulation of β-catenin. Taken together, silencing of AQP5 restrained the migration and invasion of colorectal cancer cells, and regulated the expression of EMT-related molecules in them by inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin pathway.


AQP5 Colorectal cancer EMT Migration Invasion β-catenin 



This study was supported by grants from the Science and Technology Project of Liaoning Province (No. 2013225305), the Foundation of Department of Science and Technology, Liaoning Province (No. 20170540365), and the Foundation for President of Liaoning Medical University (No. xzjj20130233).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Wang
    • 1
  • Qing Li
    • 2
  • Tao Yang
    • 1
  • Dongsheng Li
    • 1
  • Feng Ding
    • 1
  • Hongzhi Sun
    • 1
  • Guang Bai
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryThe First Affiliated Hospital of Jinzhou Medical UniversityJinzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineThe Third Affiliated Hospital of Jinzhou Medical UniversityJinzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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