Drinking and water handling in the medaka intestine: A possible role of claudin-15 in paracellular absorption?

Christian K. Tipsmark*, Andreas M. Nielsen*, Maryline C. Bossus*, Laura V. Ellis*, Christina Baun*, Thomas L. Andersen*, Jes Dreier*, Jonathan R. Brewer*, Steffen S. Madsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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When euryhaline fish move between fresh water (FW) and seawater (SW), the intestine undergoes functional changes to handle imbibed SW. In Japanese medaka, the potential transcellular aquaporin-mediated conduits for water are paradoxically downregulated during SW acclimation, suggesting paracellular transport to be of principal importance in hyperosmotic conditions. In mammals, intestinal claudin-15 (CLDN15) forms paracellular channels for small cations and water, which may participate in water transport. Since two cldn15 paralogs, cldn15a and cldn15b, have previously been identified in medaka, we examined the salinity effects on their mRNA expression and immunolocalization in the intestine. In addition, we analyzed the drinking rate and intestinal water handling by adding non-absorbable radiotracers, 51-Cr-EDTA or 99-Tc-DTPA, to the water. The drinking rate was >2-fold higher in SW than FW-acclimated fish, and radiotracer experiments showed anterior accumulation in FW and posterior buildup in SW intestines. Salinity had no effect on expression of cldn15a, while cldn15b was approximately 100-fold higher in FW than SW. Despite differences in transcript dynamics, Cldn15a and Cldn15b proteins were both similarly localized in the apical tight junctions of enterocytes, co-localizing with occludin and with no apparent difference in localization and abundance between FW and SW. The stability of the Cldn15 protein suggests a physiological role in water transport in the medaka intestine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1853
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1. Mar 2020


  • Aquaporin
  • Claudin
  • Drinking rate
  • Enterocyte
  • Epithelial fluid transport
  • Occludin
  • Osmoregulation
  • Paracellular


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