Aldosterone plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure by modulating the activity of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) that consists of α, β, and γ subunits. Aldosterone induces a molecular weight shift of γENaC from 85 to 70 kDa that is necessary for the channel activation. In vitro experiments demonstrated that a dual cleavage mechanism is responsible for this shift. It has been postulated that furin executes the primary cleavage in the Golgi and that the second cleavage is provided by other serine proteases such as prostasin or plasmin at the plasma membrane. However, the in vivo contribution of serine proteases to this cleavage remains unclear. To address this issue, we administrated a synthetic serine protease inhibitor camostat mesilate (CM) to aldosterone-infused rats. CM decreased the abundance of the 70 kDa form of ENaC and lead to a new 75 kDa form with a concomitant increase in the urinary Na/K ratio. Because CM inhibits the protease activity of serine proteases such as prostasin and plasmin, but not furin, our findings strongly indicate that CM inhibited the second cleavage of γENaC and subsequently suppressed ENaC activity. The results of our current studies also suggest the possibility that a synthetic serine protease inhibitor CM might represent a new strategy for the treatment of salt-sensitive hypertension in humans.
- serine protease inhibitor
- Copyright © 2012, American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology