Background: Guanylin (GN) and uroguanylin (UGN) are intestinally derived peptide hormones that are similar in structure and activity to the diarrhea-causing Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxins (STa). These secretagogues have been shown to affect fluid, Na+, K+, and Cl- transport in both the intestine and kidney, presumably by intracellular cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent signal transduction. However, the in vivo consequences of GN, UGN, and STa on renal function and their mechanism of action have yet to be rigorously tested.
Methods: We hypothesized that intravenous administration of GN, UGN, or STa would cause an increase in natriuresis in wild-type mice via cGMP and guanylyl cyclase-C (GC-C, Gucy2c), the only known receptor for these peptide-hormones, and that the peptide-induced natriuresis would be blunted in genetically altered mice devoid of GC-C receptors (GC-C(-/-) null).
Results: In wild-type mice using a modified renal clearance model, GN, UGN, and STa elicited significant natriuresis, kaliuresis, and diuresis as well as increased urinary cGMP levels in a time- and dose-dependent fashion. Absolute and fractional urinary sodium excretion levels were greatest approximately 40 minutes following a bolus infusion with pharmacologic doses of these peptides. Unexpectedly, GC-C(-/-) null mice also responded to the GN peptides similarly to that observed in wild-type mice. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR), blood pressure, and plasma cGMP in the mice (wild-type or GC-C(-/-) null) did not significantly vary between the vehicle- and peptide-treatment groups. The effects of UGN may also influence long-term renal function due to down-regulation of the Na+/K+ ATPase gamma-subunit and the Cl- channel ClC-K2 by 60% and 75%, respectively, as assessed by differential display polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (DD-PCR) and Northern blot analysis of kidney mRNA from mice treated with UGN.
Conclusion: GN, UGN, and STa act on the mouse kidney, in part, through a cGMP-dependent, GC-C-independent mechanism, causing significant natriuresis by renal tubular processes. UGN may have further long-term effects on the kidney by altering the expression of such transport-associated proteins as Na+/K+ ATPase and ClC-K2.