Mineralocorticoid receptor knockout mice: Pathophysiology of Na+ metabolism

Stefan Berger, Markus Bleich, Wolfgang Schmid, Timothy J. Cole, Jörg Peters, Haruko Watanabe, Wilhelm Kriz, Richard Warth, Rainer Greger, Günther Schütz

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Mineralocorticoid receptor (MR)-deficient mice were generated by gene targeting. These animals had a normal prenatal development. During the first week of life, MR-deficient (-/-) mice developed symptoms of pseudohypoaldosteronism. They finally lost weight and eventually died at around day 10 after birth from dehydration by renal sodium and water loss. At day 8, -/- mice showed hyperkalemia, hyponatremia, and a strong increase in renin, angiotensin II, and aldosterone plasma concentrations. Methods were established to measure renal clearance and colonic transepithelial Na+ reabsorption in 8-day-old mice in vivo. The fractional renal Na+ excretion was elevated >8-fold. The glomerular filtration rate in -/- mice was not different from controls. The effect of amiloride on renal Na+ excretion and colonic transepithelial voltage reflects the function of amiloide-sensitive epithelial Na+ channels (ENaC). In -/- mice, it was reduced to 24% in the kidney and to 16% in the colon. There was, however, still significant residual ENaC-mediated Na+ reabsorption in both epithelia. RNase protection analysis of the subunits of ENaC and (Na++ K+)-ATPase did not reveal a decrease in -/- mice. The present data indicate that MR-deficient neonates die because they are not able to compensate renal Na+ loss. Regulation of Na+ reabsorption via MR is not achieved by transcriptional control of ENaC and (Na+ + K+)-ATPase in RNA abundance but by transcriptional control of other as yet unidentified genes. MR knockout mice will be a suitable tool for the search of these genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9424-9429
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes

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