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Evidence for an autocrine-paracrine role of adrenomedullin in the cultured rat adrenal zona glomerulosa cells

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Rat adrenomedullin (ADM) is a 50-amino acid hypotensive and vasodilating peptide, which derives from the posttranslational proteolytic cleavage of pro(p)ADM. ADM acts via at least two subtypes of receptors, named L1-receptor (L1-R) and calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR). CRLR functions as a calcitonin gene-related peptide or a selective ADM receptor depending on the expression of the subtype 1 or the subtypes 2 and 3 of a family of receptor-activity-modifying proteins (RAMPs). Adrenal zona glomerulosa (ZG) is one of the main target tissues of ADM, which has been shown to exert a potent inhibitory effect on aldosterone secretion acting through ADM[22-52]-sensitive receptors. Reverse transcription (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) consistently allowed the detection of pADM mRNA in the ZG, but not zona fasciculata-reticularis (ZF/R) cells of the rat adrenal cortex. Immunocytochemistry and radioimmune assay showed a weak but sizeable expression of ADM protein in the ZG, but not inner adrenocortical layers. ZG cells expressed peptidyl-glycine α-amidating monooxigenase, the enzyme converting immature ADM to the mature peptide, thereby suggesting their potential ability to produce active ADM. RT-PCR demonstrated the presence in ZG, but not ZF/R cells, of the specific mRNAs of L1-R, CRLR and RAMPs (especially RAMP2). ZG cells were cultured in vitro for 24 or 48 h in the presence of ADM (10-8 M) and/or its receptor antagonist ADM[22-52] (10-6 M). ADM increased proliferation index and lowered apoptotic index of cultured cells, and the effects were annulled by ADM[22-52]. ADM[22-52] alone was ineffective in 24 h cultures, but moderately decreased proliferation index and raised apoptotic index in 48 h cultures. In conclusion, our study provides evidence that i) rat ZG cells express ADM and ADM receptor of L1 and CRLR/RAMP2 subtypes, which both are sensitive to ADM[22-52]; and ii) endogenous ADM system modulates in an autocrine/paracrine manner ZG growth, by stimulating cell proliferation and reducing cell apoptotic deletion.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Human Anatomy and Physiology, Section of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Padua, I-35121 Padua, Italy

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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