Transforming growth factors beta (TGF-betas) are peptides involved in autocrine and paracrine control of cell growth and differentiation. In the kidneys, TGF-beta(2) has been shown to localize specifically in renin-producing cells in various conditions stimulating the renin response. To test in vivo the functional role of TGF-beta(2), the renin response was investigated in mice heterozygous for a null mutation of the TGF-beta(2) gene, which had a twofold reduction in the amount of TGF-beta(2) mRNA. Although the increase in plasma renin concentration triggered by dehydration was not different from wild-type mice, renal renin mRNA and protein levels were higher in mutant mice under hydrated or dehydrated conditions. These data suggest that TGF-beta(2) exerts an inhibitory effect on renin synthesis and release from the juxtaglomerular apparatuses.
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