The G protein-coupled apelin receptor (APJ) binds the endogenous peptide apelin and has been shown to have roles in many physiological systems. Thus far, distribution studies have predominantly been conducted in the rat and there is limited knowledge of the cellular distribution of APJ in mouse or human tissues. As recent functional studies have been conducted in APJ knock-out mice (APJ KO), in this study we undertook to characterize APJ mRNA and I(125)[Pyr(1)]apelin-13 binding site distribution in mouse tissues to enable correlation of distribution with function. We have utilized in situ hybridization histochemistry (ISHH) using APJ riboprobes, which revealed strong hybridization specifically in the paraventricular (PVN) and supraoptic (SON) nuclei of the hypothalamus and in the anterior pituitary, with marginally lower levels in the posterior pituitary. In the periphery, strong hybridization was observed in the lung, heart, adrenal cortex, renal medulla, ovary and uterus. Autoradiographic binding to APJ with I(125)[Pyr(1)]apelin-13 exhibited significant binding in the anterior pituitary, while lower levels were observed in the posterior pituitary and PVN and SON. In the periphery, strong receptor binding was observed in tissues exhibiting intense riboprobe hybridization, indicating a good correlation between receptor transcription and translation. While the distribution of APJ mRNA and functional protein in the mouse shows similarities to that of the rat, we report a species difference in central APJ distribution and in the pituitary gland.
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