Q. What triggers renin release? I know that it’s hypo-filtration of the juxtaglomerular apparatus (i.e. reduced fluid flow) but what is the actual trigger for renin release?
A. There are actually three different types of cells in the JGA: granular cells (which secrete renin), macula densa cells (which secrete a vasopressive substance that acts on the afferent glomerular arteriole) and mesangial cells (whose function is a little obscure).
Granular cells (also called juxtaglomerular cells) are little connective tissue cells surrounding glomerular arterioles. They secrete renin in response to three things: 1) beta-adrenergic stimulation, 2) decreased renal perfusion pressure (which is detected by the granular cells themselves) and 3) signals from the macula densa.
Macula densa cells are specialized cells within the wall of the distal tubule. They sense the salt content and the volume of fluid within the tubule (which is related to the glomerular filtration rate). If the salt content is high, or the volume of fluid is low, the macula densa cells do two things: 1) tell the granular cells to release renin, and 2) dilate the afferent arteriole of the glomerulus (by secreting a little vasopressive hormone).
Mesangial cells come in two types: those within the glomerulus (which provide structural support for the capillaries, and also secrete some hormones, like erythropoietin), and those outside the glomerulus (which are considered part of the juxtaglomerular apparatus). The two types are connected by gap junctions. The function of the extraglomerular cells is a bit obscure. They contract when they are stimulated by sympathetic nerves. In addition, they are located in between the macula densa and the afferent arteriole, so maybe they help these two structures communicate.
- Kristine said Hi Cynthia – Yes!! I totally agree. I remember learning that if you see any secondary granulat...
- Cynthia said I’m going to have agree with the granules being the most important. I’m also MT and I...
- AG said Thanks Kristine, very helpful!
- Frank MD said Succinctly explained. Excellent! Thank you so much!!
- kartik said Thanks,i am learner,when i think hypothtically,i think i may find confusing beetween promyelocyte an...
- Carol said Thanks…. Well explained
- Ulyses Yakovlevich said This looks like an awesome tool for future Pathologists to learn from :).
- Chief said Amazing explanation. No other website teaches this interesting and important medical lesson. Not eve...
- Dr.Kisor Kumar Pal said Very helpful and practical discussion.I learned a lot.
- Cheri said Thank you ! I’m a traveler in Pathology/Histology
- Dr. Syed Mahbub Baksh said During my residency years, I have read only two books: Robbins Pathology and Henry’s Clinical...
- Theresa said Thanks for breaking this down in a simple way to understand it. Well done.