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International Journal of Hypertension
Volume 2010, Article ID 298747, 11 pages
Review Article

Methods for Imaging Renin-Synthesizing, -Storing, and -Secreting Cells

Groupe Rein et Hypertension (EA3127), Institut Universitaire de Recherche Clinique, 641 Avenue du Doyen Giraud, 34093 Montpellier Cédex 5, France

Received 13 May 2009; Revised 7 July 2009; Accepted 8 September 2009

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Schillaci

Copyright © 2010 Daniel Casellas. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Renin-producing cells have been the object of intense research efforts for the past fifty years within the field of hypertension. Two decades ago, research focused on the concept and characterization of the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system. Early morphological studies led to the concept of the juxtaglomerular apparatus, a minute organ that links tubulovascular structures and function at the single nephron level. The kidney, thus, appears as a highly “topological organ” in which anatomy and function are intimately linked. This point is reflected by a concurrent and constant development of functional and structural approaches. After summarizing our current knowledge about renin cells and their distribution along the renal vascular tree, particularly along glomerular afferent arterioles, we reviewed a variety of imaging techniques that permit a fine characterization of renin synthesis, storage, and release at the single-arteriolar, -cell, or -granule level. Powerful tools such as multiphoton microscopy and transgenesis bear the promises of future developments of the field.