With this study, we wanted to prove the hypothesis that the unique extracellular osmolality within the renal medulla modulates a specific gene expression pattern. The physiologic functions of the kidneys are mediated by the segment-specific expression of key proteins. So far, we have limited knowledge about the mechanisms that control this gene expression pattern. The hyperosmolality in the renal medullary interstitium is of major importance as a driving force for urine concentration. We made use of primarily cultured rat renal inner medullary collecting-duct cells and microarray analysis to identify genes affected by the environmental osmolality of the culture medium. We identified hundreds of genes that were either induced or repressed in expression by hyperosmolality in a time- and osmolality-dependent fashion. Further analysis demonstrated that many of them, physiologically, showed a kidney- and even collecting-duct-specific expression, including secreted proteins, kinases, and transcription factors. On the other hand, we identified factors, down-regulated in expression, that have a diuretic effect. In conclusion, the kidney is the only organ that has such a hyperosmotic environment, and study provides an excellent method for controlling tissue-specific gene expression.-Schulze Blasum, B., Schröter, R., Neugebauer, U., Hofschröer, V., Pavenstädt, H., Ciarimboli, G., Schlatter E., Edemir, B. The kidney-specific expression of genes can be modulated by the extracellular osmolality.
Keywords: gene expression; microarray; tissue specific.