Background: Prostacyclin is an important mediator of renal hemodynamics. Furthermore, recent studies argue for a role of this arachidonic acid metabolite in the regulation of salt and water handling in the distal nephron. To gain insight into the network of prostacyclin signal transduction, we analyzed the intrarenal distribution of the prostacyclin receptor (IP receptor) in adult human kidney.
Methods: Specific polyclonal antibodies against a synthetic peptide of the human IP receptor were generated. By means of immunohistology the localization of IP receptor protein was studied. The mRNA expression for IP receptor was analyzed by in situ hybridization using specific cRNA probes.
Results: In human kidney sections both IP receptor-immunoreactive protein and mRNA were expressed in smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells. Expression of the IP receptor was observed in glomerular cells, namely mesangial cells, endothelial cells, and podocytes. Both mRNA and protein expression for IP receptor was observable in Tamm-Horsfall-negative distal tubules and collecting ducts.
Conclusions: The vascular expression of the IP receptor is consistent with the known vasodilatory effect of prostacyclin in vascular beds. Glomerular expression argues for a role of this autacoid in the regulation of glomerular hemodynamics. The tubular distribution might point towards the involvement of prostacyclin in renal salt and water handling.