Ultrastructural localization of UT-A and UT-B in rat kidneys with different hydration status

Sun Woo Lim, Ki Hwan Han, Ju Young Jung, Wan Young Kim, Chul Woo Yang, Jeff M. Sands, Mark A. Knepper, Kirsten M. Madsen, Jin Kim

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20 Scopus citations


Urea transport in the kidney is mediated by a family of transporter proteins, including renal urea transporters (UT-A) and erythrocyte urea transporters (UT-B). We aimed to determine whether hydration status affects the subcellular distribution of urea transporters. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups: dehydrated rats (WD) given minimum water, hydrated rats (WL) given 3% sucrose in water for 3 days before death, and control rats given free access to water. We labeled kidney sections with antibodies against UT-A1 and UT-A2 (L194), UT-A3 (Q2), and UT-B using preembedding immunoperoxidase and immunogold methods. In control animals, UT-A1 and UT-A3 immunoreactivities were observed throughout the cytoplasm in inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD) cells, and weak labeling was observed on the basolateral plasma membrane. UT-A2 immunoreactivity in the descending thin limbs (DTL) was observed mainly on the apical and basolateral membranes of type I epithelium, and very faint labeling was observed in the long-loop DTL at the border between the outer and inner medulla. UT-A1 immunoreactivity intensity was markedly lower, and UT-A3 immunoreactivity was higher in IMCD of WD vs. controls. UT-A2 immunoreactivity intensities in the plasma membrane and cytoplasm of type I, II, and III epithelia of DTL were greater in WD vs. controls. In contrast, UT-A1 expression was greater and UT-A 2 and UT-A3 expressions were lower in WL vs. controls. The subcellular distribution of UT-A in DTL or IMCD did not differ between control and experimental animals. UT-B was expressed in the plasma membrane of the descending vasa recta of both control and experimental animals. UT-B intensity was higher in WD and lower in WL vs. controls. These data indicate that changes in hydration status over 3 days affected urea transporter protein expression without changing its subcellular distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R479-R492
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Hydration status
  • Subcellular localization
  • Urea transporter A
  • Urea transporter B


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