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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011 Jul;301(1):F71-7. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00443.2010. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

Renin expression in large renal vessels during fetal development depends on functional beta1/beta2-adrenergic receptors.

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Physiologisches Institut, Universität Regensburg, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany.


During nephrogenesis, renin expression shifts from large renal arteries toward smaller vessels in a defined spatiotemporal pattern, finally becoming restricted to the juxtaglomerular position. Chronic stimulation in adult kidneys leads to a recruitment of renin expression in the upstream vasculature. The mechanisms that control this characteristic switch-on and switch-off in the immature and adult kidney are not well-understood. Previous studies in mice with juxtaglomerular cell-specific deletion of the adenylyl cyclase-stimulatory G protein Gsα suggested that signaling along the cAMP pathway plays an essential role for renin expression during nephrogenesis and in the adult kidney. To identify the Gsα-dependent receptor that might be involved in activating this pathway, the present studies were performed to compare renin expression in wild types with that in mice with targeted deletions of β(1) and β(2)-adrenoceptors. The sympathetic nervous system is an important regulator of the renin system in the adult kidney so that activation of β-adrenenoceptors may also participate in the activation of renin expression along the developing arterial tree and in upstream vasculature in adulthood. Compared with wild-types, renin expression was found to be significantly lower at all developmental stages in the kidneys of β(1)/β(2) Adr(-/-) mice. Three-dimensional analysis showed reduced renin expression in all segments of the vascular tree in mutants and a virtual absence of renin expression in the large arcuate arteries. Adult mutant kidneys showed the typical upstream renin expression after chronic stimulation. Tyrosine hydroxylase staining in fetal and postnatal kidneys revealed that sympathetic innervation of renin-producing cells occurs early in fetal development. Our data indicate that genetic disruption of β-adrenergic receptors reduces basal renin expression along the developing preglomerular tree and in adult kidneys. Furthermore, β-adrenergic receptor input is critical for the expression of renin in large renal vessels during early fetal development.

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