A Perspective for Ménière’s Disease: In Silico Investigations of Dexamethasone as a Direct Modulator of AQP2


  • Mom Robin
  • Robert-Paganin Julien
  • Mom Thierry
  • Chabbert Christian
  • Réty Stéphane
  • Auguin Daniel


  • Ménière’s disease
  • Dexamethasone
  • Human AQP2
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Water channel
  • Water permeability modulation

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Ménière’s disease is a chronic illness characterized by intermittent episodes of vertigo associated with fluctuating sensorineural hearing loss, tinnitus and aural pressure. This pathology strongly correlates with a dilatation of the fluid compartment of the endolymph, so-called hydrops. Dexamethasone is one of the therapeutic approaches recommended when conventional antivertigo treatments have failed. Several mechanisms of actions have been hypothesized for the mode of action of dexamethasone, such as the anti-inflammatory effect or as a regulator of inner ear water homeostasis. However, none of them have been experimentally confirmed so far. Aquaporins (AQPs) are transmembrane water channels and are hence central in the regulation of transcellular water fluxes. In the present study, we investigated the hypothesis that dexamethasone could impact water fluxes in the inner ear by targeting AQP2. We addressed this question through molecular dynamics simulations approaches and managed to demonstrate a direct interaction between AQP2 and dexamethasone and its significant impact on the channel water permeability. Through compartmentalization of sodium and potassium ions, a significant effect of Na+ upon AQP2 water permeability was highlighted as well. The molecular mechanisms involved in dexamethasone binding and in its regulatory action upon AQP2 function are described.

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