Hypertension afflicts approximately 1/3 of the U.S. population. The kidney plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure through the regulation of extracellular volume. Renal nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role in the regulation of extracellular volume and thus blood pressure. Inhibition of renal NO production in general and in the renal medulla specifically causes hypertension. The latter is due to changes in medullary blood flow and nephron transport. In the renal medulla, NO dilates the vasa recta pericytes to increase medullary blood flow. At least some of this NO comes from the adjacent thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle (THAL). Free diffusion is assumed to be the primary mechanism whereby NO leaves the THAL and enters the pericyte. However we have recently shown that aquaporin-1 (AQP-1) transports NO across cell membranes 4 times faster than free diffusion and that AQP-1-dependent NO transport is required for endothelium-induced relaxation of thoracic aortas. Although THALs reabsorb no water, their basolateral membranes are water permeable. Our preliminary data show that this is in part due to AQP-1, which is also expressed in the vasa recta. We hypothesize that AQP-1 transports NO out of the THAL and into the vasa recta pericytes. First, we will investigate whether AQP-1 transports NO out of the THAL by measuring NO efflux from single, microperfused THALs isolated from wild-type and AQP-1 knockout (-/-) mice using a NO-selective electrode. Second, we will investigate whether AQP-1 transports NO into vasa recta pericytes by measuring NO influx into single, microperfused vasa recta isolated from wild-type and AQP-1 -/- mice using fluorescent dye and fluorescent confocal microscopy. Third, we will investigate whether AQP-1-dependent NO transport is involved in tubular vascular crosstalk between the THAL and vasa recta pericytes by measuring the effect of stimulating NO production by the THAL on NO influx into descending vasa recta from wild-type and AQP-1 -/- mice using a single, isolated THAL with an adjacent descending vasa recta attached. Finally, we will measure the effect of restoring AQP-1 expression by gene transfer technology specifically in the THAL, vasa recta pericytes, or both on: 1. Efflux of NO out of the THAL, 2. Influx of NO into the Vasa recta and 3) THAL-derived NO-dependent relaxation of vasa recta. Data from this proposal will contribute to our understanding of regulation of renal blood flow. Defects in AQP-1 - dependent NO transport from the THAL to the DVR may play a role in the development of hypertension. Results from this proposal may offer new targets for the development of pharmacological tools for the treatment of hypertension.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F10-H (21))
Program Officer
Rankin, Tracy L
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Henry Ford Health System
United States
Zip Code
Herrera, Marcela; Sparks, Matthew A; Alfonso-Pecchio, Adolfo R et al. (2013) Lack of specificity of commercial antibodies leads to misidentification of angiotensin type 1 receptor protein. Hypertension 61:253-8
Cabral, Pablo D; Herrera, Marcela (2012) Membrane-associated aquaporin-1 facilitates osmotically driven water flux across the basolateral membrane of the thick ascending limb. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 303:F621-9
Herrera, Marcela; Garvin, Jeffrey L (2011) Aquaporins as gas channels. Pflugers Arch 462:623-30