Immunohistochemical detection of angiotensin receptors AT1 and AT2 in adrenal tumors

Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2008;46(1):51-5. doi: 10.2478/v10042-008-0006-7.


Angiotensin II is well known to affect the adrenal cell growth and function. Angiotensin receptors AT1 and AT2 were found to be present in the normal adrenal gland. However, the data on the expression of the angiotensin receptors in the adrenal tumors are very scarce. To overcome this gap, the paraffin sections of the adrenal cortical tumors and of pheochromocytomas from the archival material were immunostained with antibodies raised against AT1 (sc-1173) and AT2 (sc-9040) receptor proteins. In hyperplasia of the adrenal cortex and in benign adrenocortical adenomas, both functioning and non-functioning, the AT1 immunostaining was present mainly in the cell membranes. A positive immunoreaction was also found in the subpopulation of cell nuclei and within the cytoplasm. In the adrenal cancer, as well as in pheochromocytomas, neither cell membranes nor cell nuclei were immunostained with anti-AT1 antibody. However, a weak AT1 immunostaining was present within the cytoplasm of tumoral cells. With anti-AT2 antibody, in all tumors investigated, the tumoral cells were immunonegative but moderate to strong AT2 immunostaining was observed in the walls of intratumoral blood vessels and in the interstitial tissue. Our data indicates that the expression of AT1 receptors is altered in adrenal cancer and in pheochromocytomas. The expression of AT2 receptors, in turn, may be connected with the process of tumoral neo-angiogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / pathology
  • Adrenocortical Adenoma / metabolism
  • Aldosterone / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Hyperplasia
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2 / metabolism*


  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2
  • Aldosterone
  • Hydrocortisone