Developmental expression patterns for angiotensin receptors in mouse skin and brain

Li Yu, Chunhong Shao, Lie Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Two G-protein-coupled receptors, angiotensin type 1 receptor (AT1R) and type 2 receptor (AT2R), mediate the majority of angiotensin II (Ang II) effects. It has long been believed that the AT2R is reduced to extremely low levels in adulthood but is abundantly expressed in the fetus. However, recent data from rats and mice do not support this notion. Employing Western blot analysis, we found a gradual increase in AT2R protein expression from fetal life to adulthood in brain, heart, lung, liver, and kidney. The reason for the discrepancy between our observations and the conventional concept is unknown. Evidence supporting a regression of the AT2R during maturation is derived largely from autoradiographic signals that were confined to the outline of fetal rats, implying that the previously reported high AT2R expression in the fetus might be valid only for skin. We therefore hypothesized that the ontogeny of angiotensin receptors in skin is opposite that in other organs. In the current experiment, we employed Western blot analysis to compare AT2R and AT1R protein expressions in skin with that in the brainstem of fetal and adult mice. Fetal brainstem expressed lower AT2R and higher AT1R protein compared to adult brainstem (AT2R/GAPDH: 0.08 ± 0.2 in fetus vs 7.6 ± 0.9 in adult, p < 0.05; AT1R/GAPDH: 5.9 ± 0.8 in fetus vs 0.7 ± 0.3 in adult, p < 0.05). In contrast, fetal skin expresses higher AT2R and lower AT1R protein compared to adult skin (AT2R/GAPDH: 0.95 ± 0.4 in fetus vs 0.04 ± 0.2 in adult, p < 0.05; AT1R/GAPDH: 0.6 ± 0.2 in fetus vs 2.1 ± 0.5 in adult, p < 0.05). This expression profile was also confirmed by immunofluorescence. Using real-time RT-PCR, we could not detect any significant differences in mRNA of these two receptors in brainstem between fetal and adult mice. However, we found a higher AT2R mRNA and lower AT1R mRNA in the fetal skin compared to adult skin. The above results confirm our hypothesis that skin displays an expression profile of angiotensin receptors opposite that of other organs during development, suggesting that the currently held view concerning AT2R maturation is suitable only for skin. In other organs and tissues, adults express higher AT2R protein than does the fetus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-149
Number of pages11
JournalJRAAS - Journal of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Angiotensin receptors
  • brainstem
  • development
  • mRNA
  • protein
  • skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology

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