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Logo of jcinvestThe Journal of Clinical InvestigationCurrent IssueArchiveSubscriptionAbout the Journal
J Clin Invest. Mar 1, 1997; 99(5): 1072–1081.
PMCID: PMC507916

Regulation of angiotensin II receptor AT1 subtypes in renal afferent arterioles during chronic changes in sodium diet.


Studies determined the effects of chronic changes in sodium diet on the expression, regulation, and function of different angiotensin II (ANG II) receptor subtypes in renal resistance vessels. Rats were fed low- or high-sodium diets for 3 wk before study. Receptor function was assessed in vivo by measuring transient renal blood flow responses to bolus injections of ANG II (2 ng) into the renal artery. ANG II produced less pronounced renal vasoconstriction in rats fed a low- compared with high-sodium diet (16% vs. 56% decrease in renal blood flow, P < 0.001). After acute blockade of ANG II formation by iv enalaprilat injection in sodium-restricted animals, ANG II produced a 40% decrease in renal blood flow, a level between untreated dietary groups and less than high salt diet. Intrarenal administration of angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AT1) receptor antagonists losartan or EXP-3174 simultaneously with ANG II caused dose-dependent inhibition of ANG II responses. Based on maximum vasoconstriction normalized to 100% ANG II effect in each group, AT1 receptor antagonists produced the same degree of blockade in all groups, with an apparent maximum of 80-90%. In contrast, similar doses of the angiotensin II receptor type 2 (AT2) receptor ligand CGP-42112 had only a weak inhibitory effect. In vitro equilibrium-saturation 125I-ANG II binding studies on freshly isolated afferent arterioles indicated that ANG II receptor density was lower in the low- vs. high-sodium animals (157 vs. 298 fmol/mg, P < 0.04); affinity was similar (0.65 nM). Losartan and EXP-3174 displaced up to 80-90% of the ANG II binding; fractional displacement was similar in both diet groups. In contrast, the AT2 receptor analogues PD-123319 and CGP-42112 at concentrations < 10(-6) M had no effect on ANG II binding. RT-PCR assays revealed the expression of both angiotensin II receptor type 1A (AT(1A)) and angiotensin II receptor type 1B (AT(1B)) subtypes in freshly isolated afferent arterioles, while there was very little AT2 receptor expression. Total AT1 receptor mRNA expression was suppressed by low sodium intake to 66% of control levels, whereas it was increased to 132% of control by high-sodium diet, as indicated by ribonuclease protection assay. Receptor regulation was associated with parallel changes in AT(1A) and AT(1B) expression; the AT(1A)/AT(1B) ratio was stable at 3.7. We conclude that AT1 receptors are the predominant ANG II receptor type in renal resistance vessels of 7-wk-old rats. Chronic changes in sodium intake caused parallel regulation of expression and amount of receptor protein of the two AT1 receptor genes that modulate receptor function and altered reactivity of renal vessels to ANG II.

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