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Aquaporins and Vasopressin Signaling in Kidney Health and Disease: Introduction

      One of the most satisfying aspects of scientific endeavor is to be involved in areas of research in which new basic discoveries suggest potentially novel strategies for therapeutic intervention, as well as for understanding underlying physiologic processes. This has certainly been the case for the field of body fluid and electrolyte homeostasis via vasopressin signaling and water channel function over the past few years. Although the existence and role of water channels (aquaporins) in biological membranes had been known for decades, based on pioneering studies by many superb physiologists and biophysicists, the discovery of the molecular identity of the first water channel by Peter Agre and his colleagues in 1991 has led to a veritable flood of research in this area. Most importantly, it has attracted a great deal of bright, young talent into the field, and has reawakened interest in understanding the mechanisms by which physiologic processes are regulated in health and disease. Much of this exciting research is now taking place under the umbrella of coordinated research activities known as systems biology in major institutions throughout the world.
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