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Localization of Angiotensin II Type 1 receptor gene expression in rodent and human kidneys

Authors: Schrankl, Julia; Fuchs, Michaela; Broeker, Katharina; Daniel, Christoph; Kurtz, Armin; Wagner, Charlotte

Online: https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/ajprenal.00550.2020

Issue: Am J Physiol Renal Physiol . 2021 Apr 1;320(4):F644-F653.


The kidneys are an important target for angiotensin II (ANG II). In the adult kidneys the effects of ANG II are mediated mainly by ANG II type 1 (AT1) receptors. AT1 receptor expression has been reported for a variety of different cell types within the kidneys, suggesting a broad spectrum of actions for ANG II. Since there have been heterogeneous results in the literature regarding the intrarenal distribution of AT1 receptors, this study aimed to obtain a comprehensive overview about the localization of AT1 receptor expression in mouse, rat and human kidneys. Using the cell specific and high-resolution RNAscope technique, we performed colocalization studies with various cell markers to specifically discriminate between different segments of the tubular and vascular system. Overall we found a similar pattern of AT1 mRNA expression in mouse, rat and human kidneys. AT1 receptors were detected in mesangial cells and renin-producing cells. In addition, AT1 mRNA was found in interstitial cells of the cortex and outer medulla. In rodents, late afferent and early efferent arterioles expressed AT1 receptor mRNA, but larger vessels of the investigated species showed no AT1 expression. Tubular expression of AT1 mRNA was species-dependent with a strong expression in proximal tubules of mice while expression was undetectable in human tubular cells. These findings suggest that the (juxta)glomerular area and the tubulointerstitium are conserved expression sites for AT1 receptors across species and might present the main target sites for ANG II in adult human and rodent kidneys.