BACKGROUND - In the neonatal period, angiotensin II (Ang II) is up-regulated and induces a timely development of the renal pelvis and ureteral peristalsis, thereby protecting the kidney from hydronephrosis. We tested the possibility that in adulthood, Ang II may act salutarily on the kidney structure during partial urinary tract obstruction by inducing adaptive changes in the peristaltic machinery.
METHODS - Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to partial unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) and divided into two groups, that is, those treated with (group L, N = 21) and those without (group C, N = 21) an angiotensin type 1 (AT1) receptor antagonist (losartan). Control animals were sham operated (N = 10). Rats were sacrificed either at day 7 or day 14.
RESULTS - The degree of hydronephrosis determined morphometrically was significantly more severe in group L than group C at both day 7 and day 14, indicating that Ang II inhibition accentuated hydronephrosis. The measurement of upstream pressure within the partially ligated ureter in vivo revealed that losartan significantly attenuates the frequency of ureteral peristaltic activities. In in vitro studies using ureteral strips harvested from normal adult Sprague-Dawley rats (N = 10), Ang II (10(-8) mol/L) was shown to augment contraction, which was completely inhibited by losartan (10(-6) mol/L).
CONCLUSIONS - Ang II has a salutary effect of protecting kidneys from hydronephrosis during partial ureteral obstruction through its ability to augment ureteral peristalsis.