Renin-induced proteinuria in the rat was investigated, with special emphasis on the relationship between the enzymatic activity and the proteinuric effect of renin. The dependence of the proteinuric effect on the enzymatic activity was shown by using (a) renin preparations of widely varying purity and (b) chemically modified "active" and "inactive" renin derivatives.
Angiotensin II, the pressor product of the enzymatic action of renin, also produced significant proteinuria.
Adrenalectomy abolished the proteinuria induced by renin. Proteinuria, however, occurred as a result of pretreatment with DOCA, or aldosterone, or without treatment, 7 to 8 weeks after adrenalectomy.
Electron microscopic studies of the kidney at the time of maximal proteinuria showed focal flattening and fusion of epithelial foot processes, as well as swelling and vesicle formation in endothelial and epithelial cells of the glomeruli. Studies with intravenously injected saccharated iron oxide showed increased permeability of the glomerular capillary basement membrane to these particles. These changes were transient and were not seen 24 hours after renin injection. Adrenalectomy prevented these changes.
It is concluded that renin, acting through angiotensin, causes glomerular capillary damage with increased permeability of these structures to protein and resultant proteinuria. The adrenal glands participate in a permissive role in this phenomenon.