Renin Secretion: An Anatomical Basis for Tubular Control

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Science  30 Apr 1971:
Vol. 172, Issue 3982, pp. 485-487
DOI: 10.1126/science.172.3982.485


By means of electron microscopy of serial sections and three-dimensional reconstruction of the juxtaglomerular apparatus a quantitative study has been made of the distribution of the areas of contact between the tubular and vascular components. Of the two arterioles the efferent is the only one consistently in contact with the distal tubule. The extraglomerular mesangium is also in contact with the distal tubule in all the apparatuses examined. Two morphologically distinct types of contact are described; one is thought to be permanent and the other reversible. An analysis of the cells of the juxtaglomerular apparatus for their position, granularity, and contact has revealed that the majority of granular cells are not in contact with the distal tubule. The anatomical findings are integrated in a model of the control of renin secretion based on variations in contact between the elements of the juxtaglomerular apparatus.