Renin and renin inhibition in anephric man

John A. Opsahl, Kevin L. Smith, Robert D. Murray, Paul A. Abraham, Stephen A. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Renin activity appears to be present in low concentrations in the plasma of anephric humans but could be artifactual secondary to inadvertent activation of prorenin during specimen collection and handling or from a renin-like enzyme. We studied the effects of specimen collection, storage, different assay conditions, trypsin activation, and the renin inhibitor EMD 56133 (E Merck, Darmstadt) on plasma renin activity (PRA) in anephric man. PRA was detectable in all seven bilaterally nephrectomized (BNX) patients (0.2 ± 0.1 ng AI/m1/hr, range 0.1 - 0.7) but was significantly lower than normals (2.4 ± 0.3 ng AI/m1/hr, range 1.5 - 3.1, p=0.001). PRA was not different in BNX whether blood samples were collected on ice or at room temperature and assayed immediately or whether samples were frozen and assayed several days later. Prolonged cold storage of samples and five freeze-thaw cycles over six to seven months did not significantly increase PRA in normals or anephrics. However, deliberate repeated freezing and thawing over the period of a single day increased PRA 4.1-fold in BNX and 1.6-fold in normals. Renin-like activity was also detected in BNX individuals using renin concentration determinations with either excess human or sheep angiotensinogen. The inhibition of renin activity (IC-50% - 3.16 × 10-9 molar) by EMD 56133 was not different between BNX and normals. Thus, active renin is present in the plasma of anephric humans and does not result from the inadvertent activation of prorenin due to sample handling. Although the source of PRA in BNX is unknown, the enzyme appears functionally normal as evidenced by the dose-response to a single renin inhibitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-306
Number of pages18
JournalClinical and Experimental Hypertension
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
John A. Opsahl, M.D. Hennepin County Medical Center 701 Park Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 612-347-6367 This study was supported by a grant from the National Kidney Foundation of the Upper Midwest, Minneapolis, MN, andby a grant from E. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany.


  • Bilateral nephrectomy
  • Dialysis
  • Plasma renin activity
  • Prorenin
  • Renin inhibitor


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