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Kidney Int. 2001 Feb;59(2):515-31.

Immunofluorescent imaging of beta 1- and beta 2-adrenergic receptors in rat kidney.

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Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.



beta-Adrenergic receptors (beta-ARs) are known to participate in the regulation of glomerular filtration, NaCl reabsorption, acid-base balance, and renin secretion; however, the precise histologic localization of beta-AR at putative signaling sites involved in these processes remains an open issue.


We used a set of subtype-specific rabbit antibodies to visualize beta(1)- and beta(2)-AR in rat kidney by immunohistochemistry and specified cells and segments of the nephron thought to be regulated by catecholamines. In addition, the relative proportion of beta-AR subtypes in cortical and medullary portions of rat kidney was determined by Western blotting and by competing [(125)I]-cyanopindolol binding with the beta(1)- or beta(2)-selective antagonists bisoprolol or ICI 118,551, respectively.


Immunoreactivity for beta(1)-AR was found in mesangial cells, juxtaglomerular granular cells, the macula densa epithelium, proximal and distal tubular segments, and acid-secreting type A intercalated cells of the cortical and medullary collecting ducts. Immunoreactivity for beta(2)-AR was predominantly localized in the apical and subapical compartment of proximal and, to a lesser extent, distal tubular epithelia (suggesting interactions with luminal fluid catecholamines). Both subtypes were dense in the membranes of smooth muscle cells from renal arteries. Concordant data were obtained by radioligand binding and immunoblotting of membranes prepared from cortical and medullary portions of the kidney.


Our data provide an immunohistochemical basis for the cellular targets of beta-adrenergic regulation of renal function. Moreover, they could help to devise therapeutic strategies directed at renal beta-ARs.

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