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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2013 Oct 15;305(8):F1099-104. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00400.2013. Epub 2013 Aug 14.

Sex differences in ET-1 receptor expression and Ca2+ signaling in the IMCD.

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  • 1Section of Experimental Medicine, Dept. of Medicine, CB-2200, Georgia Regents Univ., 1459 Laney Walker Blvd., Augusta, GA 30912. dpollock@gru.edu.


The inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) is the nephron segment with the highest production of endothelin-1 (ET-1) and the greatest expression of ET-1 receptors that function to adjust Na(+) and water balance. We have reported that male rats have reduced natriuresis in response to direct intramedullary infusion of ET-1 compared with female rats. Our aim was to determine whether alterations of ET-1 receptor expression and downstream intracellular Ca(2+) signaling within the IMCD could account for these sex differences. IMCDs from male and female rats were isolated for radioligand binding or microdissected for intracellular Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)]i) measurement by fluorescence imaging of fura-2 AM. IMCD from male and female rats had similar ETB expression (655 ± 201 vs. 567 ± 39 fmol/mg protein, respectively), whereas male rats had significantly higher ETA expression (436 ± 162 vs. 47 ± 29 fmol/mg protein, respectively; P < 0.05). The [Ca(2+)]i response to ET-1 was significantly greater in IMCDs from male compared with female rats (288 ± 52 vs. 118 ± 32 AUC, nM × 3 min, respectively; P < 0.05). In IMCDs from male rats, the [Ca(2+)]i response to ET-1 was significantly blunted by the ETA antagonist BQ-123 but not by the ETB antagonist BQ-788 (control: 137 ± 27; BQ-123: 53 ± 11; BQ-788: 84 ± 25 AUC, nM × 3 min; P < 0.05), consistent with greater ETA receptor function in male rats. These data demonstrate a sex difference in ETA receptor expression that results in differences in ET-1 Ca(2+) signaling in IMCD. Since activation of ETA receptors is thought to oppose ETB receptor activation, enhanced ETA function in male rats could limit the natriuretic effects of ETB receptor activation.


endothelin; inner medullary collecting duct

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