The renal nerves are the communication link between the central nervous system and the kidney. In response to multiple peripheral and central inputs, efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity is altered so as to convey information to the major structural and functional components of the kidney, the vessels, glomeruli, and tubules, each of which is innervated. At the level of each of these individual components, information transfer occurs via interaction of the neurotransmitter released at the sympathetic nerve terminal-neuroeffector junction with specific postjunctional receptors coupled to defined intracellular signaling and effector systems. In response to normal physiological stimuli, changes in efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity contribute importantly to homeostatic regulation of renal blood flow, glomerular filtration rate, renal tubular epithelial cell solute and water transport, and hormonal release. Afferent input from sensory receptors located in the kidney participates in this reflex control system via renorenal reflexes that enable total renal function to be self-regulated and balanced between the two kidneys. In pathophysiological conditions, abnormal regulation of efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity contributes significantly to the associated abnormalities of renal function which, in turn, are of importance in the pathogenesis of the disease.
The kidney is innervated with efferent sympathetic nerve fibers that directly contact the vasculature, the renal tubules, and the juxtaglomerular granular cells. Via specific adrenoceptors, increased efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity decreases renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate, increases renal tubular sodium and water reabsorption, and increases renin release. Decreased efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity produces opposite functional responses. This integrated system contributes importantly to homeostatic regulation of sodium and water balance under physiological conditions and to pathological alterations in sodium and water balance in disease. The kidney contains afferent sensory nerve fibers that are located primarily in the renal pelvic wall where they sense stretch. Stretch activation of these afferent sensory nerve fibers elicits an inhibitory renorenal reflex response wherein the contralateral kidney exhibits a compensatory natriuresis and diuresis due to diminished efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity. The renorenal reflex coordinates the excretory function of the two kidneys so as to facilitate homeostatic regulation of sodium and water balance. There is a negative feedback loop in which efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity facilitates increases in afferent renal nerve activity that in turn inhibit efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity so as to avoid excess renal sodium retention. In states of renal disease or injury, there is activation of afferent sensory nerve fibers that are excitatory, leading to increased peripheral sympathetic nerve activity, vasoconstriction, and increased arterial pressure. Proof of principle studies in essential hypertensive patients demonstrate that renal denervation produces sustained decreases in arterial pressure.
The renal functional effects of renal mechano- (MR) and chemoreceptor (CR) stimulation were examined in dogs and rats. In dogs increasing ureteral pressure (increases UP) increased ipsilateral (ipsi) renal blood flow and renin secretion rate, decreased contralateral (contra) renal blood flow, but did not affect contra renal excretion or renin secretion rate. Increasing renal venous pressure (increases RVP) increased ipsi renin secretion rate but did not affect contra renal function. Retrograde ureteropelvic perfusion with 0.9 M NaCl at unchanged UP did not affect either ipsi or contra renal function. In rats,increases UP and retrograde ureteropelvic perfusion with 0.9 M NaCl at unchanged UP did not affect mean arterial pressure, heart rate, contra renal blood flow, or glomerular filtration rate but increased contra urine flow rate and urinary sodium excretion. Increasing ureteral pressure with 0.1 M NaCl increased contra urine flow rate and urinary sodium excretion, whereas retrograde ureteropelvic perfusion with 0.1 M NaCl was without effect. Thus increases UP and retrograde ureteropelvic perfusion with 0.9 M NaCl stimulated renal MR and CR, respectively. The contra diuretic and natriuretic responses to renal MR and CR stimulation were abolished by either ipsi or contra renal denervation. Renal MR and CR stimulation increased ipsi afferent renal nerve activity (RNA) and decreased contra efferent RNA. These results indicate that in dogs renal MR stimulation results in a modest contralateral excitatory renorenal reflex, whereas in rats renal MR and CR stimulation produce a contralateral inhibitory renorenal reflex.
Whether activation of afferent renal nerves contributes to the regulation of arterial pressure and sodium balance has been long overlooked. In normotensive rats, activating renal mechanosensory nerves decrease efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity (ERSNA) and increase urinary sodium excretion, an inhibitory renorenal reflex. There is an interaction between efferent and afferent renal nerves, whereby increases in ERSNA increase afferent renal nerve activity (ARNA), leading to decreases in ERSNA by activation of the renorenal reflexes to maintain low ERSNA to minimize sodium retention. High-sodium diet enhances the responsiveness of the renal sensory nerves, while low dietary sodium reduces the responsiveness of the renal sensory nerves, thus producing physiologically appropriate responses to maintain sodium balance. Increased renal ANG II reduces the responsiveness of the renal sensory nerves in physiological and pathophysiological conditions, including hypertension, congestive heart failure, and ischemia-induced acute renal failure. Impairment of inhibitory renorenal reflexes in these pathological states would contribute to the hypertension and sodium retention. When the inhibitory renorenal reflexes are suppressed, excitatory reflexes may prevail. Renal denervation reduces arterial pressure in experimental hypertension and in treatment-resistant hypertensive patients. The fall in arterial pressure is associated with a fall in muscle sympathetic nerve activity, suggesting that increased ARNA contributes to increased arterial pressure in these patients. Although removal of both renal sympathetic and afferent renal sensory nerves most likely contributes to the arterial pressure reduction initially, additional mechanisms may be involved in long-term arterial pressure reduction since sympathetic and sensory nerves reinnervate renal tissue in a similar time-dependent fashion following renal denervation.
Increasing renal pelvic pressure increases afferent renal nerve activity (ARNA) by a prostaglandin E2 (PGE2)-mediated release of substance P (SP) from renal pelvic sensory nerves. We examined whether the ARNA responses were modulated by high- and low-sodium diets. Increasing renal pelvic pressure resulted in greater ARNA responses in rats fed a high-sodium than in those fed a low-sodium diet. In rats fed a low-sodium diet, increasing renal pelvic pressure 2.5 and 7.5 mmHg increased ARNA 2 +/- 1 and 13 +/- 1% before and 12 +/- 1 and 22 +/- 2% during renal pelvic perfusion with 0.44 mM losartan. In rats fed a high-sodium diet, similar increases in renal pelvic pressure increased ARNA 10 +/- 1 and 23 +/- 3% before and 1 +/- 1 and 11 +/- 2% during pelvic perfusion with 15 nM ANG II. The PGE2-mediated release of SP from renal pelvic nerves in vitro was enhanced in rats fed a high-sodium diet and suppressed in rats fed a low-sodium diet. The PGE2 concentration required for SP release was 0.03, 0.14, and 3.5 microM in rats fed high-, normal-, and low-sodium diets. In rats fed a low-sodium diet, PGE2 increased renal pelvic SP release from 5 +/- 1 to 6 +/- 1 pg/min without and from 12 +/- 1 to 21 +/- 2 pg/min with losartan in the incubation bath. Losartan had no effect on SP release in rats fed normal- and high-sodium diets. ANG II modulates the responsiveness of renal pelvic mechanosensory nerves by inhibiting PGE2-mediated SP release from renal pelvic nerve fibers.
Kopp UC, Cicha MZ, Smith LA, Mulder J, Hö kfelt T. Renal sympathetic nerve activity modulates afferent renal nerve activity by PGE 2-dependent activation of ␣1-and ␣2-adrenoceptors on renal sensory nerve fibers. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 293: R1561-R1572, 2007. First published August 15, 2007; doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00485.2007.-Increasing efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity (ERSNA) increases afferent renal nerve activity (ARNA). To test whether the ERSNA-induced increases in ARNA involved norepinephrine activating ␣-adrenoceptors on the renal sensory nerves, we examined the effects of renal pelvic administration of the ␣ 1-and ␣2-adrenoceptor antagonists prazosin and rauwolscine on the ARNA responses to reflex increases in ERSNA (placing the rat's tail in 49°C water) and renal pelvic perfusion with norepinephrine in anesthetized rats. Hot tail increased ERSNA and ARNA, 6,930 Ϯ 900 and 4,870 Ϯ 670% ⅐ s (area under the curve ARNA vs. time). Renal pelvic perfusion with norepinephrine increased ARNA 1,870 Ϯ 210% ⅐ s. Immunohistochemical studies showed that the sympathetic and sensory nerves were closely related in the pelvic wall. Renal pelvic perfusion with prazosin blocked and rauwolscine enhanced the ARNA responses to reflex increases in ERSNA and norepinephrine. Studies in a denervated renal pelvic wall preparation showed that norepinephrine increased substance P release, from 8 Ϯ 1 to 16 Ϯ 1 pg/min, and PGE 2 release, from 77 Ϯ 11 to 161 Ϯ 23 pg/min, suggesting a role for PGE 2 in the norepinephrineinduced activation of renal sensory nerves. Prazosin and indomethacin reduced and rauwolscine enhanced the norepinephrine-induced increases in substance P and PGE 2. PGE2 enhanced the norepinephrine-induced activation of renal sensory nerves by stimulation of EP4 receptors. Interaction between ERSNA and ARNA is modulated by norepinephrine, which increases and decreases the activation of the renal sensory nerves by stimulating ␣ 1-and ␣2-adrenoceptors, respectively, on the renal pelvic sensory nerve fibers. Norepinephrine-induced activation of the sensory nerves is dependent on renal pelvic synthesis/release of PGE 2. substance P; EP4 receptor; pelvis; prazosin; rauwolscine THERE IS CONSIDERABLE EVIDENCE for increased sympathetic nerve activation to further stimulate sensory nerve fibers following tissue injury (15). Studies on efferent renal sympathetic nerve activity (ERSNA) and afferent renal nerve activity (ARNA) suggest that such an interaction is not restricted to conditions of tissue injury but is an important mechanism regulating ERSNA during physiological conditions (30). The kidney has a rich supply of sympathetic nerves, which innervate all parts of the vasculature and the nephron (2). In contrast, the majority of the sensory nerve fibers are localized to the renal pelvic wall (25,26,32). There is anatomical support for an interaction between ERSNA and ARNA, as shown by the close relationship between unmyelinated sympathetic nerve fibers and myelinated afferent nerve fibers in renal tissue...
Increased renal pelvic pressure or bradykinin increases afferent renal nerve activity (ARNA) via PGE(2)-induced release of substance P. Protein kinase C (PKC) activation increases ARNA, and PKC inhibition blocks the ARNA response to bradykinin. We now examined whether bradykinin mediates the ARNA response to increased renal pelvic pressure by activating PKC. In anesthetized rats, the ARNA responses to increased renal pelvic pressure were blocked by renal pelvic perfusion with the bradykinin B(2)-receptor antagonist HOE 140 and the PKC inhibitor calphostin C by 76 +/- 8% (P < 0.02) and 81 +/- 5% (P < 0.01), respectively. Renal pelvic perfusion with 4beta-phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu) to activate PKC increased ARNA 27 +/- 4% and renal pelvic release of PGE(2) from 500 +/- 59 to 1, 113 +/- 183 pg/min and substance P from 10 +/- 2 to 30 +/- 2 pg/min (all P < 0.01). Indomethacin abolished the increases in substance P release and ARNA. The PDBu-mediated increase in ARNA was also abolished by the substance P-receptor antagonist RP 67580. We conclude that bradykinin contributes to the activation of renal pelvic mechanosensitive neurons by activating PKC. PKC increases ARNA via a PGE(2)-induced release of substance P.
In anesthetized rats, we examined whether inhibitory renorenal reflex responses to renal pelvic mechanoreceptor (MR) and chemoreceptor (CR) stimulation were mediated by substance P (SP)-containing neurons. Capsaicin (0.5 ng to 5 micrograms) injected into the renal pelvis increased afferent renal nerve activity (ARNA) dose dependently, from 60 +/- 19 to 333 +/- 105%. For a given ARNA response, a 100-fold higher dose was required when capsaicin was injected into the renal interstitium compared with the renal pelvis. Renal pelvic administration of SP (25 ng) increased ipsilateral ARNA by 126 +/- 34% and contralateral urine flow rate and urinary sodium excretion by 21 +/- 4 and 28 +/- 7%, respectively, a response similar to that produced by renal MR and CR stimulation. Mean arterial pressure was unaffected. Ipsilateral renal denervation abolished the contralateral diuresis and natriuresis produced by SP. In rats treated with capsaicin (950 mg/kg subcutaneously over 1 wk) to deplete sensory neurons of SP, renal MR and CR stimulation failed to elicit a renorenal reflex response. The data suggest that the renorenal reflex responses to renal MR and CR stimulation are mediated at least, in part, by SP neurons or other sensory neurons susceptible to depletion by capsaicin.
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