Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP)-mediated natriuretic response is a well-established cardiac endocrine function. Corin is a transmembrane protease that activates ANP in the heart. Corin expression has been detected in non-cardiac tissues including the kidney. Here we examined corin, pro-ANP/ANP and natriuretic peptide receptor-A (NPR-A) expression in human renal segments. By immunostaining and in situ hybridization, we found similar corin, pro-ANP/ANP and NPR-A protein and mRNA expression in human renal segments. The expression was most abundant in the proximal convoluted tubules and the medullary connecting ducts. In the proximal tubules, corin protein was present in the apical membrane region underneath the brush border where the ANP-degrading protease neprilysin was abundant. These results suggest that corin-mediated pro-ANP activation may occur in renal segments and that locally produced ANP may act in an autocrine manner to regulate sodium and water reabsorption in situ. Our results also point to the proximal convoluted tubules as a major site for local ANP action. Such a renal corin/ANP autocrine mechanism may differ from the cardiac corin/ANP endocrine mechanism in regulating sodium homoeostasis under physiological and pathological conditions.

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