Angiotensinogen, angiotensin-converting enzyme, and renin constitute the components of the renin-angiotensin system. The mammalian renal proximal tubule contains angiotensinogen, angiotensin-converting enzyme, and angiotensin receptors. Previous immunohistochemical studies describing the presence of renin in the proximal tubule could not distinguish synthesized renin from renin trapped from the glomerular filtrate. In the present study, we examined the presence of renin activity and mRNA in rabbit proximal tubule cells in primary culture and renin mRNA in microdissected proximal tubules. Renin activity was present in lysates of proximal tubule cells in primary culture. Cellular renin content in cultured proximal tubule cells was increased by incubation with 10-5 M isoproterenol and 10-5 M forskolin by 150 and 110%, respectively. In addition, renin transcripts were detected in poly(A)+ RNA from cultured proximal tubule cells by RNA blots under high stringency conditions. In microdissected tubules from normal rats, renin mRNA was not detectable with reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction. However, in tubules from rats administered the angiotensinogen-converting-enzyme inhibitor, enalapril, renin was easily detected in the S2 segment of the proximal tubule. We postulate the existence of a local reninangiotensin system that enables the proximal tubule to generate angiotensin II, thereby providing an autocrine system that could locally modulate NaHCO3 and NaCl absorption.
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