To determine whether the expression of the type 1 angiotensin II receptor (AT1) gene is developmentally regulated and whether the regulation is tissue specific, AT1 mRNA levels were determined by Northern blot analysis in livers and kidneys from fetal, newborn, and adult rats, using a 1133-bp rat AT1 cDNA. In the liver, AT1 mRNA levels increased fivefold from 15 d gestation to 5 d of age. Liver AT1 mRNA levels at 5 d of age were similar to those of adult rats. In the kidney, AT1 mRNA levels were higher in immature than in adult animals. The intrarenal distribution of AT1 mRNA was assessed by in situ hybridization to a 35S-labeled 24 residues oligonucleotide complementary to rat AT1 mRNA. In the adult, AT1 mRNA was present in glomeruli, arteries, and vasa recta, whereas in the newborn AT1 mRNA was observed also over the nephrogenic area of the cortex. We conclude that: (a) fetal kidney and liver express the AT1 gene; (b) the AT1 gene expression is developmentally regulated in a tissue-specific manner; (c) during maturation, localization of AT1 mRNA in the kidney shifts from a widespread distribution in the nephrogenic cortex to specific sites in glomeruli, arteries, and vasa recta, suggesting a role for the angiotensin receptor in nephron growth and development.
- in situ hybridization
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