Functions of the renin-angiotensin system during development

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1995 Aug;22(8):499-505. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1995.tb02057.x.


1. From studies in chronically catheterized fetal sheep and other species, it can be shown that the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is active during intra-uterine life. Levels of angiotensin II (AII) in fetal sheep are similar to maternal. 2. The fetal RAS plays a role in maintenance of arterial pressure. The extent to which it does so depends on the level of activity of the system. 3. The distribution of renin within the fetal rat kidney is much more widespread than in the adult. The fetal kidney, like other vascular beds has high levels of the AT2 angiotensin receptor subtype. With maturation the proportion of the AT1 receptor subtype increases. 4. Blockade of the fetal RAS with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or with the non-peptide AII antagonist (losartan) caused a fall in fetal glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a rise in renal blood flow (RBF). AII reverses the fall in GFR even though RBF decreases. 5. The fraction of the filtered sodium load reabsorbed by the proximal tubule was not affected when the fetal RAS was blocked by captopril or losartan. High doses of infused AII had no effect on renal reabsorption of sodium, in the short term, but in the long term depressed fractional proximal reabsorption. 6. Only in high doses does AII stimulate the secretion of aldosterone from the fetal adrenal.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*
  • Sheep