Notch3 Is Essential for Regulation of the Renal Vascular Tone
The Notch3 receptor participates in the development and maturation of vessels. Mutations of Notch3 in humans are associated with defective regulation of cerebral blood flow. To investigate the role of Notch3 in the regulation of renal hemodynamics, we used mice lacking expression of the Notch3 gene (Notch3−/− mice). Bolus injections of norepinephrine and angiotensin II increased renal vascular resistance and decreased renal blood flow in a dose-dependent manner in wild-type mice. In sharp contrast, renal vascular resistance of Notch3−/− mice varied little after boluses of norepinephrine and angiotensin II. Inversely, bradykinin and prostacyclin relaxed renal vasculature in wild-type mice. Both vasodilators had a negligible effect on renal vascular resistance of Notch3−/− mice. Afferent arterioles freshly isolated from Notch3−/− mice displayed decreased thickness of vascular wall compared with wild -type mice and showed a deficient contractile response to angiotensin II. To examine the physiopathological consequences of the above-described deficiency, hypertension was induced by continuous infusion of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II gradually increased blood pressure in both strains, but this increase was lesser in the Notch3−/− mice. Despite this blunted systemic effect, Notch3−/− mice displayed high mortality rates (65%) attributed to heart failure. In the kidney, the surviving Notch3−/− mice showed focal structural alterations characteristic of nephroangiosclerosis. These data show that Notch3 is necessary for the adaptive response of the renal vasculature to vasoactive systems. A deficiency in the expression of Notch3 could have important physiopathological consequences in the adaptation of the cardiac and renal function to chronic increase of blood pressure.
- Received February 7, 2011.
- Revision received March 6, 2011.
- Accepted April 1, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.