Connexin40 regulates renin production and blood pressure

Kidney Int. 2007 Oct;72(7):814-22. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2007 Jul 11.


Renin secretion is regulated by coordinated signaling between the various cells of the juxtaglomerular apparatus. The renin-secreting cells (RSC), which play a major role in the control of blood pressure, are coupled to each other and to endothelial cells by Connexin40 (Cx40)-containing channels. In this study, we show that Cx40 knockout (Cx40-/-) mice, but not their heterozygous littermates, are hypertensive due to the increase in the number of RSC, renin biosynthesis, and plasma renin. Treatment with the angiotensin II receptor AT1 antagonist candesartan or the angiotensin II-converting enzyme inhibitor ramipril reduced the blood pressure of the Cx40-/- mice to the same levels seen in wild-type (WT) mice. The elevated blood pressure of the knockout mice was not affected by clipping one renal artery (2K1C, renin-dependent model of hypertension) or after a high salt diet. Under these conditions, however, Cx40-/- mice showed an altered production and release of renin. The renin mRNA ratio between the clipped and the non-clipped kidney was lower in the knockout than in the WT 2K1C mice. This indicates that the response to a change in blood pressure was altered. The RSC of the Cx40-/- mice did not have a compensatory increase in the levels of either Cx43 or Cx37. Our data show that renin secretion is dependent on Cx40 and suggest the Cx40-/- mice may be a genetic model of renin-dependent hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Connexins / genetics
  • Connexins / metabolism
  • Connexins / physiology*
  • Hypertension / metabolism*
  • Hypertension / pathology
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Renin / biosynthesis*
  • Renin / blood
  • Renin / metabolism
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*


  • Connexins
  • connexin 40
  • Renin