Distribution of angiotensin type 1a receptor-containing cells in the brains of bacterial artificial chromosome transgenic mice.

PMID 22922351


In the central nervous system, angiotensin II (AngII) binds to angiotensin type 1 receptors (AT(1)Rs) to affect autonomic and endocrine functions as well as learning and memory. However, understanding the function of cells containing AT(1)Rs has been restricted by limited availability of specific antisera, difficulties discriminating AT(1)R-immunoreactive cells in many brain regions and, the identification of AT(1)R-containing neurons for physiological and molecular studies. Here, we demonstrate that an Agtr1a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mouse line that expresses type A AT(1)Rs (AT1aRs) identified by enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) overcomes these shortcomings. Throughout the brain, AT1aR-EGFP was detected in the nuclei and cytoplasm of cells, most of which were neurons. EGFP often extended into dendritic processes and could be identified either natively or with immunolabeling of GFP. The distribution of AT1aR-EGFP cells in brain closely corresponded to that reported for AngII binding and AT1aR protein and mRNA. In particular, AT1aR-EGFP cells were in autonomic regions (e.g., hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, central nucleus of the amygdala, parabrachial nucleus, nuclei of the solitary tract and rostral ventrolateral medulla) and in regions involved in electrolyte and fluid balance (i.e., subfornical organ) and learning and memory (i.e., cerebral cortex and hippocampus). Additionally, dual label electron microscopic studies in select brain areas demonstrate that cells containing AT1aR-EGFP colocalize with AT(1)R-immunoreactivity. Assessment of AngII-induced free radical production in isolated EGFP cells demonstrated feasibility of studies investigating AT1aR signaling ex vivo. These findings support the utility of Agtr1a BAC transgenic reporter mice for future studies understanding the role of AT(1)R-containing cells in brain function.