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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Feb 10;106(6):2059-64. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0812859106. Epub 2009 Jan 27.

Functional expression of the olfactory signaling system in the kidney.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Olfactory-like chemosensory signaling occurs outside of the olfactory epithelium. We find that major components of olfaction, including olfactory receptors (ORs), olfactory-related adenylate cyclase (AC3) and the olfactory G protein (G(olf)), are expressed in the kidney. AC3 and G(olf) colocalize in renal tubules and in macula densa (MD) cells which modulate glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR is significantly reduced in AC3(-/-) mice, suggesting that AC3 participates in GFR regulation. Although tubuloglomerular feedback is normal in these animals, they exhibit significantly reduced plasma renin levels despite up-regulation of COX-2 expression and nNOS activity in the MD. Furthermore, at least one member of the renal repertoire of ORs is expressed in a MD cell line. Thus, key components of olfaction are expressed in the renal distal nephron and may play a sensory role in the MD to modulate both renin secretion and GFR.

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