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Pflugers Arch. 1997 Nov;434(6):756-63.

A low-Na+ diet enhances expression of mRNA for epithelial Na+ channel in rat renal inner medulla.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Jichi Medical School, 3311-1 Yakushiji, Minamikawachi-machi, Kawachi-gun, Tochigi, 329-04, Japan.


The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the renal inner medulla expresses mRNA for the rat epithelial Na+ channel (rENaC) and, if so, to define its regulatory properties using a low-Na+ diet model. We detected alpha, beta and gamma subunit mRNA in rat renal inner medulla using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with primers specific for rENaC alpha, beta and gamma subunits. Moreover, we have developed a specific probe for the alpha subunit using RT-PCR with rENaC alpha-subunit-specific primers. The resulting cDNA was verified by sequencing and was then used in Northern blot analysis of distal colon, whole kidney and inner medulla. The probe for the rENaC alpha subunit hybridized not only to distal colon RNA but also to inner medulla RNA derived from rats fed a normal diet. Furthermore, we examined the effect of a low-Na+ diet on alpha, beta and gamma subunit mRNA expression of rENaC using full-length cDNA as a probe. A marked elevation of rENaC alpha subunit mRNA abundance in the inner medulla was observed in response to a high plasma aldosterone concentration induced by dietary Na+ deprivation. On the other hand, neither beta nor gamma subunit mRNA expression was enhanced by a low-Na+ diet. From these results, it is suggested that rENaC is responsible for Na+ transport in the renal inner medulla and that is probably regulated via transcriptional control of the alpha subunit of ENaC.

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