SLC9A4 in the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis is a [Na+] sensor for the control of water intake

Hiraki Sakuta, Chia Hao Lin, Takeshi Y. Hiyama, Takashi Matsuda, Katsushi Yamaguchi, Shuji Shigenobu, Kenta Kobayashi, Masaharu Noda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Nax is a brain [Na+] sensor expressed in the subfornical organ (SFO) and organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT) in the brain. We previously demonstrated that Nax signals are involved in the control of water intake behavior through the Nax/TRPV4 pathway. Nax gene knockout mice showed significantly attenuated water intake after an intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of a hypertonic NaCl solution; however, the induction of a certain amount of water intake still remained, suggesting that another unknown [Na+]-dependent pathway besides the Nax/TRPV4 pathway contributes to water intake. In the present study, we screened for novel [Na+] sensors involved in water intake control and identified SLC9A4 (also called sodium (Na+)/hydrogen (H+) exchanger 4 (NHE4)). SLC9A4 is expressed in angiotensin II (Ang II) receptor type 1a (AT1a)-positive neurons in the OVLT. Sodium-imaging experiments using cultured cells transfected with slc9a4 revealed that SLC9A4 was activated by increases in extracellular [Na+] ([Na+]o), but not osmolality. Moreover, the firing activity of SLC9A4-positive neurons was enhanced by increases in [Na+]o and Ang II. slc9a4 knockdown in the OVLT reduced water intake induced by increases in [Na+], but not osmolality, in the cerebrospinal fluid. ICV injection experiments of a specific inhibitor suggested that the increase in extracellular [H+] caused by SLC9A4 activation next stimulates acid-sensing channel 1a (AS1C1a) to induce water intake. Our results thus indicate that SLC9A4 in the OVLT functions as a [Na+] sensor for the control of water intake and that the SLC9A4 signal is independent of the Nax/TRPV4 pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-624
Number of pages16
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Na
  • OVLT
  • SLC9A4 (NHE4)
  • Water intake
  • [Na] sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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