Estrogen and progesterone regulate alpha, beta, and gamma ENaC subunit mRNA levels in female rat kidney

L Gambling, S Dunford, C A Wilson, H J McArdle, D L Baines

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61 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Estrogen and progesterone regulate alpha, beta, and gamma amiloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) subunit mRNA levels in female rat kidney. Renal Na+ handling differs between males and females. Further, within females Na+ metabolism changes during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Electrolyte homeostasis and extracellular fluid volume are maintained primarily by regulated transport of Na+ via the amiloride-sensitive Na+ channel. This study examines the role of the female gender steroids in the regulation of expression of ENaC.

Methods. We measured ENaC subunit mRNA levels in rat kidney using Northern blotting. Kidneys were taken from male and females at different ages and from adult ovariectomized rats treated with 17-beta-estradiol benzoate (estrogen) and/or progesterone for 8 or 24 hours.

Results. The abundance of alpha, beta, and gammaENaC mRNA was significantly higher in female compared to male rat kidneys from 10 weeks of age (P = 0.001, P = 0.004, and P = 0.02, N = 10, respectively). These differences were abolished in ovariectomized rats. Treatment of ovariectomized rats with estrogen increased alphaENaC mRNA abundance in the kidney at both 8 and 24 hours (P < 0.05, N = 6; and P < 0.05, N =7, respectively). Progesterone inhibited the effect of estrogen on alphaENaC mRNA at 8 hours but when given alone increased gammaENaC mRNA (P < 0.05, N = 3). Neither hormone, alone or in combination, had any significant effect on &beta;ENaC mRNA levels at 8 or 24 hours.

Conclusion. Female gonadal steroids differentially modulate expression of ENaC subunit mRNA in the rat kidney.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1774-1781
Number of pages8
JournalKidney International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • ENaC
  • hormone
  • kidney
  • epithelial sodium-channel
  • collecting duct
  • water transport
  • NA+ absorption
  • lung
  • aldosterone
  • cells
  • vasopressin
  • expression
  • nephron


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