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Renal cortical cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is restricted to the macula densa and adjacent cortical thick ascending limbs (MD/cTALH). Renal cortical COX-2 increases in response to diabetes and renal ablation, both of which are characterized by hyperfiltration and reduced NaCl delivery to the MD due to increased proximal NaCl reabsorption. High-protein intake also induces hyperfiltration and decreases NaCl delivery to the MD due to increased NaCl reabsorption proximally. We investigated whether high protein induces cortical COX-2 and whether cortical COX-2 contributes to high protein-induced hyperfiltration and increased intrarenal renin biosynthesis. Cortical COX-2 increased after protein loading but decreased after protein restriction. COX-2 inhibition attenuated high protein-induced hyperfiltration but had no effect on high protein-induced intrarenal renin elevation. Therefore, induction of cortical COX-2 contributed to high protein-induced hyperfiltration but not intrarenal renin elevation. In the kidney cortex, neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) is also localized to the MD, and interactions between intrarenal nNOS and COX-2 systems have been proposed. Cortical COX-2 elevation seen in salt restriction was blocked by nNOS inhibiton. Cortical nNOS expression also increased after protein loading, and inhibition of nNOS activity completely reversed high protein-induced cortical COX-2 elevation and hyperfiltration. These results indicate that NO is a mediator of high protein-induced cortical COX-2 elevation and suggest that both intrarenal nNOS and COX-2 systems appear to regulate afferent arteriolar tone and subsequent hyperfiltration seen in high-protein intake.