PURPOSE - We and others have shown that angiotensin II has a pivotal role in renal damage in various renal injuries. Although most angiotensin II actions are associated with the angiotensin type 1 receptor, there is increasing evidence that the angiotensin type 2 receptor also transduces some important effects of angiotensin II. In this regard we recently observed that mice with genetically engineered disruption of the angiotensin type 2 receptor, termed Agtr2 mutants, are more susceptible to structural renal damage after ureteral obstruction. Recent evidence suggests that a genetically determined increase in angiotensin converting enzyme activity in humans promotes end organ damage. Therefore, we determined whether renal damage in Agtr2 mutants is associated with heightened angiotensin converting enzyme activity.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We studied 28 wild type and 19 Agtr2 mutant mice with unilateral ureteral obstruction. Seven days after obstruction was created serum samples were obtained to evaluate angiotensin converting enzyme activity. The obstructed and contralateral kidneys were harvested for histological analysis and determination of renal angiotensin converting enzyme activity by high pressure liquid chromatography.
RESULTS - Renal angiotensin converting enzyme was uniformly higher than serum angiotensin converting enzyme in normal wild type and Agtr2 mutant mice. However, even at baseline Agtr2 mutant mice had strikingly higher renal angiotensin converting enzyme activity than normal wild type mice (mean plus or minus standard error 1,492+/-83 versus 450+/-60 milliunits per gm. tissue weight, p <0.0005). Histological analysis revealed more extensive parenchymal damage in the obstructed kidneys of mutant mice than in identically treated controls. Notably while unilateral ureteral obstruction decreased renal angiotensin converting enzyme activity in each group, activity remained persistently higher in the Agtr2 mutants than in normal mice (mean 742+/-146 versus 310+/-43 milliunits per gm. tissue weight, p <0.005).
CONCLUSIONS - We propose that elevated renal angiotensin converting enzyme activity contributes to more severe renal parenchymal damage in ureteral obstruction by promoting the availability of growth factors, such as angiotensin II, or depleting antiproliferation factors, such as bradykinin or nitric oxide. These findings complement previous observations that angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition preserves the renal parenchyma after injury, including obstruction.