Expression of natriuretic peptides, nitric oxide synthase, and guanylate cyclase activity in frog mesonephros during the annual cycle

Carla Fenoglio, Livia Visai, Concetta Addario, Giuseppe Gerzeli, Gloria Milanesi, Rita Vaccarone, Sergio Barni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Natriuretic peptides (NPs), a family of structurally related hormones and nitric oxide (NO), generated by nitric oxide synthase (NOS), are believed to be involved in the regulation of fluid balance and sodium homeostasis. Differential expression and regulation of these factors depend on both physiological and pathological conditions. Both NPs and NO act in target organs through the activation of guanylate cyclase (GC) and the generation of guanosine 3 ,5-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP), which is considered a common messenger for the action of these factors. The present study was designed to investigate - by histochemical methods - the expression of some NPs (proANP and ANP) and isoforms of NOS (neuronal NOS, nNOS, and inducible NOS, iNOS) in the mesonephros of Rana esculenta in different periods of the year including hibernation, to evaluate possible seasonal changes in their expression. We also studied the enzyme activity of NOS-related nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate diaphorase (NADPHd) and of GC. The experiments were performed on pieces of kidney of R. esculenta collected in their natural environment during active and hibernating life. The study was carried out using immunohistochemical techniques to demonstrate proANP, ANP, and some NOS isoforms. Antigen capture by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was also performed to determine the presence of NPs in the frog kidney extract. Enzyme histochemistry was used to demonstrate the NOS-related NADPHd activity at light microscopy; GC activity was visualized at the electron microscope, using cerium as capture agent. The application of the immunohistochemical techniques demonstrated that frog mesonephros tubules express different patterns of distribution and/or expression of ANP and NOS during the annual cycle. Comparing the results obtained on active and hibernating frogs has provided interesting data; the NOS/NADPHd and GC activities showed some variations as well. Furthermore, the presence of NPs in the frog kidney extract was evidenced by dose-dependent response in the ELISA. The data suggest that both ANP and NO are intra-renal paracrine and/or autocrine factors which may modulate the adaptations of frog renal functions to seasonal changes through the action of the cGMP generated from GC activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-176
Number of pages11
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • Amphibians
  • Hibernation
  • Mesonephros
  • Natriuretic peptides
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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