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Rodents are the unique species carrying duplicated angiotensin (Ang) type 1 (AT1) receptor genes, Agtr1a and Agtr1b. After separately generating Agtr1a and Agtr1b null mutant mice by gene targeting, we produced double mutant mice homozygous for both Agtr1a and Agtr1b null mutation (Agtr1a-/-; Agtr1b-/-) by mating the single gene mutants. Agtr1a-/-, Agtr1b-/- mice are characterized by normal in utero survival but decreased ex utero survival rate. After birth they are characterized by low body weight gain, marked hypotension, and abnormal kidney morphology including delayed maturity in glomerular growth, hypoplastic papilla, and renal arterial hypertrophy. These abnormal phenotypes are quantitatively similar to those found in mutant mice homozygous for the angiotensinogen gene (Agt-/-), indicating that major biological functions of endogenous Ang elucidated by the abnormal phenotypes of Agt-/- are mediated by the AT1 receptors. Infusion of Ang II, AT1 blockers, or an AT2 blocker was without effect on blood pressure in Agtr1a-/-; Agtr1b-/- mice, indicating that AT2 receptor does not exert acute depressor effects in these mice lacking AT1 receptors. Also, unlike Agt-/- mice, some Agtr1a-/-; Agtr1b-/- mice have a large ventricular septum defect, suggesting that another receptor such as AT2 is functionally activated in Agtr1a-/-, Agtr1b-/- mice.
Angiotensin II has been identified immunohistochemically in the ovaries of both rats and humans. Here we present evidence that angiotensin II (an extremely vasoactive agent in a wide range of tissues) may be involved in the regulation of the major steroidogenic enzyme in the ovary, cholesterol side chain cleavage cytochrome P-450 (P-450scc), as well as of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), which has been implicated as an angiogenic factor in the bovine corpus luteum. We have used primary cultures of bovine luteal cells to examine the effect of angiotensin II and its receptor antagonist, saralasin, on expression of mRNA encoding bFGF as well as on progesterone production and the expression of mRNA encoding cholesterol side chain cleavage cytochrome P-450 (P-450scc). Neither angiotensin II nor saralasin when added alone to the culture medium had any effect on basal progesterone production. Luteinizing hormone (LH) caused a 15-fold increase in progesterone accumulation after 24 h of exposure which was reduced to 5-fold in the presence of angiotensin II. This appeared to be receptor-mediated in that although saralasin alone had no effect on LH-stimulated progesterone accumulation, it significantly reversed the inhibition by angiotensin II. This pattern was mirrored by the levels of mRNA encoding P-450scc, i.c., LH induced the highest levels of expression of this message, these levels were reduced by angiotensin II, and saralasin partially overcame this reduction. Levels of mRNA encoding bFGF were elevated by both LH and angiotensin II. Treatment with saralasin, however, resulted in complete inhibition of bFGF mRNA expression in the presence of both LH and angiotensin II. These results suggest a role for angiotensin II to mediate the action of LH as a regulator of bFGF expression and hence, potentially, angiogenesis. Local production of angiotensin II might also contribute to the refractoriness of luteal progesterone secretion to LH at the time of luteal regression.
Adenosine is an inhibitory neuromodulator in several brain regions. In the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS), however, adenosine exerts excitatory cardiovascular effects. The purpose of the present study was to elucidate the involvement of other endogenous mechanisms that could contribute to the final hemodynamic response to adenosine in this nucleus. In normotensive Sprague-Dawley rats, intra-NTS microinjection of adenosine (2.3 nmol/60 nl) decreased blood pressure and heart rate. These effects were blocked by prior administration of the specific adenosine receptor antagonist 1,3-dipropyl-8-p-sulfophenylxanthine (0.92 nmol) and by the two glutamate receptor antagonists kynurenic acid and glutamic diethylester. The specificity of the adenosine-glutamate interaction in the NTS was demonstrated with adrenergic and angiotensin receptor antagonists that did not affect the adenosine response and by experiments with glutamate receptor antagonists that did not affect nicotine actions in the NTS. Furthermore, an increase in glutamate levels was demonstrated during perfusion of adenosine through a microdialysis probe in the NTS of anesthetized rabbits. These findings indicate that adenosine increases the release of glutamate in the NTS and, thus, are at variance with the concept of a "universal" inhibitory effect of adenosine in the central nervous system.