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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2012 Mar 1;302(5):R494-509. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00487.2011. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Evidence for a functional intracellular angiotensin system in the proximal tubule of the kidney.

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Laboratoory of Receptor and Signal Transduction, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216-4505, USA.


ANG II is the most potent and important member of the classical renin-angiotensin system (RAS). ANG II, once considered to be an endocrine hormone, is now increasingly recognized to also play novel and important paracrine (cell-to-cell) and intracrine (intracellular) roles in cardiovascular and renal physiology and blood pressure regulation. Although an intracrine role of ANG II remains an issue of continuous debates and requires further confirmation, a great deal of research has recently been devoted to uncover the novel actions and elucidate underlying signaling mechanisms of the so-called intracellular ANG II in cardiovascular, neural, and renal systems. The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the intracellular actions of ANG II, either administered directly into the cells or expressed as an intracellularly functional fusion protein, and its effects throughout a variety of target tissues susceptible to the impacts of an overactive ANG II, with a particular focus on the proximal tubules of the kidney. While continuously reaffirming the roles of extracellular or circulating ANG II in the proximal tubules, our review will focus on recent evidence obtained for the novel biological roles of intracellular ANG II in cultured proximal tubule cells in vitro and the potential physiological roles of intracellular ANG II in the regulation of proximal tubular reabsorption and blood pressure in rats and mice. It is our hope that the new knowledge on the roles of intracellular ANG II in proximal tubules will serve as a catalyst to stimulate further studies and debates in the field and to help us better understand how extracellular and intracellular ANG II acts independently or interacts with each other, to regulate proximal tubular transport and blood pressure in both physiological and diseased states.

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