A major pathway in hypertension pathogenesis involves direct activation of ANG II type 1 (AT1) receptors in the kidney, stimulating Na+ reabsorption. AT1 receptors in tubular epithelia control expression and stimulation of Na+ transporters and channels. Recently, we found reduced blood pressure and enhanced natriuresis in mice with cell-specific deletion of AT1 receptors in smooth muscle (SMKO mice). Although impaired vasoconstriction and preserved renal blood flow might contribute to exaggerated urinary Na+ excretion in SMKO mice, we considered whether alterations in Na+ transporter expression might also play a role; therefore, we carried out proteomic analysis of key Na+ transporters and associated proteins. Here, we show that levels of Na+-K+-2Cl- cotransporter isoform 2 (NKCC2) and Na+/H+ exchanger isoform 3 (NHE3) are reduced at baseline in SMKO mice, accompanied by attenuated natriuretic and diuretic responses to furosemide. During ANG II hypertension, we found widespread remodeling of transporter expression in wild-type mice with significant increases in the levels of total NaCl cotransporter, phosphorylated NaCl cotransporter (Ser71), and phosphorylated NKCC2, along with the cleaved, activated forms of the a- and c-epithelial Na+ channel. However, the increases in a- and c-epithelial Na+ channel with ANG II were substantially attenuated in SMKO mice. This was accompanied by a reduced natriuretic response to amiloride. Thus, enhanced urinary Na+ excretion observed after cell-specific deletion of AT1 receptors from smooth muscle cells is associated with altered Na+ transporter abundance across epithelia in multiple nephron segments. These findings suggest a system of vascular-epithelial in the kidney, modulating the expression of Na+ transporters and contributing to the regulation of pressure natriuresis.
- Epithelial Na+ channel
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