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Physiol Rev. 2006 Jul;86(3):901-40.

Adenosine and kidney function.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, USA.


In this review we outline the unique effects of the autacoid adenosine in the kidney. Adenosine is present in the cytosol of renal cells and in the extracellular space of normoxic kidneys. Extracellular adenosine can derive from cellular adenosine release or extracellular breakdown of ATP, AMP, or cAMP. It is generated at enhanced rates when tubular NaCl reabsorption and thus transport work increase or when hypoxia is induced. Extracellular adenosine acts on adenosine receptor subtypes in the cell membranes to affect vascular and tubular functions. Adenosine lowers glomerular filtration rate (GFR) by constricting afferent arterioles, especially in superficial nephrons, and acts as a mediator of the tubuloglomerular feedback, i.e., a mechanism that coordinates GFR and tubular transport. In contrast, it leads to vasodilation in deep cortex and medulla. Moreover, adenosine tonically inhibits the renal release of renin and stimulates NaCl transport in the cortical proximal tubule but inhibits it in medullary segments including the medullary thick ascending limb. These differential effects of adenosine are subsequently analyzed in a more integrative way in the context of intrarenal metabolic regulation of kidney function, and potential pathophysiological consequences are outlined.

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