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Receptor-Induced Dilatation in the Systemic and Intrarenal Adaptation to Pregnancy in Rats

By Vanessa M. Ferreira, Thiago S. Gomes, Luciana A. Reis, Alice T. Ferreira, Clara V. Razvickas, Nestor Schor and Mirian A. Boim


Normal pregnancy is associated with systemic and intrarenal vasodilatation resulting in an increased glomerular filtration rate. This adaptive response occurs in spite of elevated circulating levels of angiotensin II (Ang II). In the present study, we evaluated the potential mechanisms responsible for this adaptation. The reactivity of the mesangial cells (MCs) cultured from 14-day-pregnant rats to Ang II was measured through changes in the intracellular calcium concentration ([Cai]). The expression levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), the Ang II-induced vasodilatation receptor AT2, and the relaxin (LGR7) receptor were evaluated in cultured MCs and in the aorta, renal artery and kidney cortex by real time-PCR. The intrarenal distribution of LGR7 was further analyzed by immunohistochemistry. The MCs displayed a relative insensitivity to Ang II, which was paralleled by an impressive increase in the expression level of iNOS, AT2 and LGR7. These results suggest that the MCs also adapt to the pregnancy, thereby contributing to the maintenance of the glomerular surface area even in the presence of high levels of Ang II. The mRNA expression levels of AT2 and LGR7 also increased in the aorta, renal artery and kidney of the pregnant animals, whereas the expression of the AT1 did not significantly change. This further suggests a role of these vasodilatation-induced receptors in the systemic and intrarenal adaptation during pregnancy. LGR7 was localized in the glomeruli and on the apical membrane of the tubular cells, with stronger labeling in the kidneys of pregnant rats. These results suggest a role of iNOS, AT2, and LGR7 in the systemic vasodilatation and intrarenal adaptation to pregnancy and also suggest a pivotal role for relaxin in the tubular function during gestation

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