Expression and localization of the renin-angiotensin system in the rat pancreas


    The possibility of an intrinsic renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in the pancreas has been raised by previous studies in which immunohistochemical examination showed the presence of angiotensin II and its receptor subtypes, type 1 (AT1) and type 2 (AT2). In the present study, gene expression of several key RAS components was investigated by reverse-transcription PCR. mRNA expression for angiotensinogen, renin and angiotensin II receptor subtypes, AT1a, AT1b and AT2 was shown. The presence of angiotensinogen protein, the mandatory component for an intrinsic RAS, was demonstrated by Western blotting and localized by immunohistochemistry to the epithelia and endothelia of pancreatic ducts and blood vessels respectively. Immunoblot analysis detected a predominant protein band of about 60 kDa in the pancreas. This was consistent with the predicted value for angiotensinogen as reported in other tissues. Together with previous findings, the present study shows that the rat pancreas expresses the major RAS component genes, notably angiotensinogen and renin, required for intracellular formation of angiotensin II. The data support the notion of an intrinsic RAS in the rat pancreas which may play a role in the regulation of pancreatic functions.

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