The presence of the two components of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) has been systematically investigated in human normal and pathological adrenal tissues with two aims: 1) the detection of renin and especially angiotensinogen, which has not been reported before; and 2) to study possible differences in the coexpression of renin and angiotensinogen in tissue of cortical and medullary origin. The relative levels of renin and angiotensinogen mRNAs were determined by Northern blot analysis in normal (n = 5) and pathological adrenal tissues of cortical (n = 23) and medullary (n = 10) origin. Renin, prorenin, and angiotensinogen levels were also measured. Renin concentrations in normal and pathological adrenals were around 30-fold higher than those in the plasma of normal subjects, except for a Cushing's adenoma, which contains an extremely high renin content. Renin accounted for 56% of the total renin in normal adrenals and up to 87% in neoplastic tissues. This high proportion of renin indicates a likely conversion of prorenin to renin within these tissues. Renin mRNA was detected in each group of adrenal tissues. There was a significant correlation between the concentration of renin and its mRNA (r = 0.75; P < 0.05). Angiotensinogen and its mRNA were detected in all normal and pathological adrenals. Compared to normal adrenal tissues, the relative amount of angiotensinogen mRNA was significantly higher in pheochromocytomas. However, the increased mRNA level in these tissues was not accompanied by a parallel increase in tissue angiotensinogen levels. Since the translational efficiency of angiotensinogen was verified by in vitro cell-free translation, the low level of angiotensinogen compared to the relatively high amount of its mRNA suggests a lack of storage of this protein in adrenal cells, as in liver cells. This study demonstrates that renin and angiotensinogen are coexpressed in normal and pathological tissues. Tissues of different cellular origin (zona glomerulosa, fasciculata, and medullary tissue), were able to express, store, and process renin and synthesize angiotensinogen. There was no obvious relationship between the expression of these proteins and the pathophysiology of the adrenal gland.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical