Developmental changes in AT1 and AT2 receptor-protein expression in rats

Li Yu, Mingqi Zheng, Wei Wang, George J. Rozanski, Irving H. Zucker, Lie Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


It has long been known that angiotensin type-1 receptors (AT1R) play a critical role in sympathetic regulation, cardiovascular activity, and hormone secretion under physiological and pathological states. On the other hand, the functional significance of angiotensin type-2 receptors (AT2R) is poorly understood. In a recent study we demonstrated that, in rats with chronic heart failure, AT1R protein expression was increased but AT2R expression was decreased in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM). This imbalance of angiotensin receptors contributed to sympatho-excitation in the heart failure state. In the current experiment, we measured AT1R and AT2R protein expressions in the brainstem, kidney and liver from male foetuses (3 days before birth), male neonates (3 days after birth), male and female adults (8 weeks) and male aged (28 months) rats by Western blot analysis. In the brainstem, we found that the foetuses and neonates exhibited a significantly lower AT2R protein expression compared with adult rats (foetus 0.08 ± 0.01, neonate 0.12 ± 0.01, male adult 0.25 ± 0.01, female adult 0.22 ± 0.02; n = 4 per group, p < 0.001 foetus and neonate compared with male or female adults). In contrast, the foetuses and neonates expressed significantly higher AT1R protein than that of the adults (foetus 0.64 ± 0.09, neonate 0.56 ± 0.01, male adult 0.13 ± 0.02, female adult 0.08 ± 0.02; n = 4 each group, p < 0.001 foetus and neonate compared with male and female adults). In the liver, the AT2R protein was also higher in foetus and neonate, than in adult rats. Interestingly, the foetal liver expressed higher AT1R protein compared with that of the neonate. In the kidney, AT2R expression was significantly increased with age (foetus 0.08 ± 0.01, neonate 0.19 ± 0.02, male adult 0.49 ± 0.04, female adult 0.90 ± 0.10; n = 4 per group, p < 0.01-0.001). AT1R expression, on the other hand, was higher in the foetuses than that in both neonate and male adults. This study provides data contrary to existing dogma that AT2R expression is higher in foetal life and low in adults, suggesting an involvement of a potentially important functional role for AT2R in adult animals and AT1R in foetal development and/or physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalJRAAS - Journal of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • angiotensin II receptors
  • brainstem
  • development
  • kidney
  • liver
  • protein expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Developmental changes in AT1 and AT2 receptor-protein expression in rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this