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Clin Exp Hypertens A. 1987;9(8-9):1435-54.

Ovarian prorenin.

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Cardiovascular Center, New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical College, New York 10021.


We review here recent evidence that the ovaries synthesize and secrete prorenin and we explore the possible reasons why prorenin, and not active renin, is formed almost exclusively in this extra-renal site. Very high concentrations of prorenin are present in the human ovary in the fluid inside mature follicles. This ovarian prorenin appears to be secreted into the circulation since plasma prorenin increases in normal women for two to three days at mid-menstrual cycle, at the time of ovulation. No change in plasma active renin occurs at this time. Plasma prorenin increases much more at mid-cycle in women whose ovaries have been hyperstimulated with gonadotropins. Their mid-cycle increment in plasma prorenin (after hCG) is directly related to the number of ovarian follicles. Plasma prorenin also increases markedly (10-fold) in pregnant women within two weeks after conception, in parallel with the rise in endogenous hCG. The ovaries are the apparent source of the increase in plasma prorenin during pregnancy since no such increase occurred in a woman with ovarian failure who conceived after receiving a donor egg. These results suggest that the ovaries synthesize and secrete prorenin in response to stimulation by gonadotropic hormones. Future studies will investigate the potential role of ovarian prorenin in human reproductive function. We postulate the existence of a prorenin receptor which activates prorenin and, in consequence, activates a local renin-angiotensin system. The functioning of this system may be regulated by changes in prorenin and its receptor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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