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Brain Res. 1999 Jan 30;817(1-2):123-31.

The angiotensinogen gene is expressed in both astrocytes and neurons in murine central nervous system.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, The University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Two transgenic mouse models were used to examine the cellular localization of angiotensinogen (AGT) in the brain. The first model was previously described in detail and consists of a human AGT genomic transgene containing all exons and introns of the gene and 1. 2 kb of the 5' flanking DNA. The second model contains a fusion between 1.2 kb of HAGT 5' flanking DNA and the beta-gal reporter gene which exhibits a similar pattern of tissue-specific expression to the HAGT transgene. Expression of both transgenes qualitatively mirrors the expression of endogenous AGT. Double staining of transgenic mouse brain sections with X-gal and GFAP revealed that a majority of beta-gal activity was localized to astrocytes in almost all brain areas. However, both beta-gal activity as identified by X-gal, and HAGT mRNA as detected by in situ hybridization, were also found in neurons in restricted areas of the brain, including the mesencephalic trigeminal nucleus (meV), subfornical organ (SFO) and the external lateral parabrachial nucleus (elPB). The expression of these transgenes provides the first convincing evidence for AGT gene expression in neurons in the brain. We further report by angiotensin II (Ang-II) immunostaining in rat brains after selective lesioning, that Ang-II is likely involved in a neuronal pathway from the PB to the amygdala (Ce). Finally, we performed double-labeling, first by retrograde labeling of HRP injected into the Ce, and then by X-gal on PB neurons in beta-gal transgenic mice, and identified doubly labeled neurons. Based on these results, we propose that AGT is generated in neurons in the elPB, transported to the Ce and converted into Ang-II locally to exert is biological functions.

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