Background: The presence of extrarenal or local renin-angiotensin system (RAS) has been noted in several tissues, although its functions have not yet been clarified. Renin from the coagulating gland (CG) is the most recently discovered local RAS and is a significant subject for investigation because large amounts of both mRNA and proteins are detected in this organ. Recently, it has been reported that testosterone influences renin synthesis in several extrarenal tissues, although it has no effect on intrarenal renin. Therefore, it is possible that CG renin is also regulated by testosterone.
Methods: Forty-four male C57BL/6 mice, aged 3 wk to 6 mo, were used in studies on the ontogeny and androgen regulation of the RAS in the CG. The tissues were fixed with Bouin's solution and paraffin sections were stained with immunohistochemical methods using antirenin antiserum. In each immunostained section, the relative number of renin-containing cells in terminal portions of the CG were counted.
Results: Immunoreactivity for renin was first detected at 6 wk after birth. After that time, the number of renin-containing cells gradually increased throughout the experiment. In adults, several patterns of renin immunoreactivity were demonstrated in almost all epithelial cells of CGs, specifically; (1) basolateral granular reaction, (2) diffuse immunoreactivity throughout the cytoplasm, and (3) restricted nuclear reaction. Excretory products of some terminal lumina were also found to be positive for renin. At 10 days after castration, renin-containing cells in ductal termini were decreased and remained at low levels until at 4 wk after castration. After testosterone injection, numerical values of renin-containing cells were high at 1 wk and then decreased at 2-3 wk.
Conclusion: It is suggested that CG renin of the mouse is expressed together with sexual maturation during development and that it depends on the testis, possibly the male sex hormone.