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Kidney Int. 2001 Feb;59(2):645-53.

Different effects of angiotensin II and catecholamine on renal cell apoptosis and proliferation in rats.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



We have recently found that chronic infusion of angiotensin II (Ang II) into rats resulted in an impairment of renal function, whereas norepinephrine (NE) infusion did not. We investigated whether chronic infusion of Ang II and NE caused different degrees of renal cell apoptosis and proliferation.


Rats were made hypertensive via continuous infusion of either Ang II or NE for up to seven days. Renal cell apoptosis and proliferation were analyzed by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) technique and staining with antibody against proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), respectively. In some experiments, an inducer or inhibitor of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) was administered to investigate the possible role of HO-1 in renal cell homeostasis.


Infusion of Ang II, but not NE, resulted in approximately a sevenfold increase in bax protein at seven days of infusion. The TUNEL assay revealed that Ang II infusion significantly increased the number of apoptotic cells, whereas NE infusion did not. TUNEL- and PCNA-positive cells were mainly seen in the tubulointerstitial region of Ang II-infused rats. Ang II induced increased positivity of TUNEL, and PCNA was blocked completely by losartan, but only partially by hydralazine. Induction of HO-1 reduced and inhibition of HO increased Ang II-induced cell proliferation.


These data suggest that Ang II plays a pivotal role in the development of renal cell proliferation and apoptosis in the setting of hypertension. The renal HO system may modulate proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of Ang II.

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