Hypokalemia causes a significant decrease in the tonicity of the renal medullary interstitium in association with reduced expression of sodium transporters in the distal tubule. We asked whether hypokalemia caused downregulation of the tonicity-responsive enhancer binding protein (TonEBP) transcriptional activator in the renal medulla due to the reduced tonicity. We found that the abundance of TonEBP decreased significantly in the outer and inner medullas of hypokalemic rats. Underlying mechanisms appeared different in the two regions because the abundance of TonEBP mRNA was lower in the outer medulla but unchanged in the inner medulla. Immunohistochemical examination of TonEBP revealed cell type-specific differences. TonEBP expression decreased dramatically in the outer and inner medullary collecting ducts, thick ascending limbs, and interstitial cells. In the descending and ascending thin limbs, TonEBP abundance decreased modestly. In the outer medulla, TonEBP shifted to the cytoplasm in the descending thin limbs. As expected, transcription of aldose reductase, a target of TonEBP, was decreased since the abundance of mRNA and protein was reduced. Downregulation of TonEBP appeared to have also contributed to reduced expression of aquaporin-2 and UT-A urea transporters in the renal medulla. In cultured cells, expression and activity of TonEBP were not affected by reduced potassium concentrations in the medium. These data support the view that medullary tonicity regulates expression and nuclear distribution of TonEBP in the renal medulla in cell type-specific manners.
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology|
|State||Published - Jul 2007|