Physiological Reviews

Physiology of Kidney Renin

Hayo Castrop, Klaus Höcherl, Armin Kurtz, Frank Schweda, Vladimir Todorov, Charlotte Wagner


The protease renin is the key enzyme of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone cascade, which is relevant under both physiological and pathophysiological settings. The kidney is the only organ capable of releasing enzymatically active renin. Although the characteristic juxtaglomerular position is the best known site of renin generation, renin-producing cells in the kidney can vary in number and localization. (Pro)renin gene transcription in these cells is controlled by a number of transcription factors, among which CREB is the best characterized. Pro-renin is stored in vesicles, activated to renin, and then released upon demand. The release of renin is under the control of the cAMP (stimulatory) and Ca2+ (inhibitory) signaling pathways. Meanwhile, a great number of intrarenally generated or systemically acting factors have been identified that control the renin secretion directly at the level of renin-producing cells, by activating either of the signaling pathways mentioned above. The broad spectrum of biological actions of (pro)renin is mediated by receptors for (pro)renin, angiotensin II and angiotensin-(17).

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