Nitric oxide synthase and renin-angiotensin gene expression and NOS function in the postnatal renal resistance vasculature

Pediatr Nephrol. 2009 Feb;24(2):355-65. doi: 10.1007/s00467-008-0977-9. Epub 2008 Oct 3.


Nitric oxide (NO), produced by nitric oxide synthase (NOS), critically counteracts angiotensin-II-enhanced vascular resistance in the immature kidney, perhaps due to the developmental regulation of NOS expression and function in the postnatal preglomerular resistance vessels (PRV). Our experiments measured the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) gene expression of neuronal NOS (nNOS), endothelial NOS (eNOS), and components of the renin-angiotensin system (renin, AT1 and AT2 receptors), by real-time RT-PCR, as well as NOS enzymatic activity by citrulline assay in PRVs (afferent, interlobular, and arcuate arterioles) obtained from swine ages newborn, 7 and 21 days, and adult. NOS enzymatic activity was upregulated in PRVs immediately after birth but decreased to adult levels with maturation. Neuronal NOS, renin, and AT2 receptor expression in PRVs were upregulated in the newborn and decreased with age to lowest levels in the adult. In contrast, eNOS and AT1 receptor expression were downregulated at birth but increased to the highest levels in the adult. Upregulated NOS enzymatic activity in newborn PRVs supports the critical neonatal role for NO renal vascular vasodilation. Upregulated nNOS gene expression, concomitant with downregulated eNOS gene expression in neonatal PRVs, suggests that the nNOS isoform may be responsible for counteracting angiotensin II increased vascular resistance in immature porcine PRVs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Kidney / blood supply
  • Kidney / growth & development
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I / genetics*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / genetics*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / genetics*
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Renal Circulation / physiology
  • Renin / genetics*
  • Renin / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sus scrofa
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology
  • Vasoconstriction / physiology


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Renin