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Clarification of the role of estrogen in the regulation of angiotensinogen gene expression in multiple tissues.The effect of 17P-estradiol (E2; 10|J.g/100mg body weight) administration in ovariectomized (OVX) rats upon angiotensinogen messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in multiple tissues was assessed. Confounding ovarian factors were thus removed by studying the animals in the castrate state. Controls consisted of OVX and intact female rats.Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were ovariectomized and experiments begun 21 days postsurgery. Animals were injected with E2 and studied after 0, 1, 4, and 24 h of treatment. Levels of angiotensinognen mRNA were determined by Northern blot analysis using (3-actin mRNA as an internal standard.A single angiotensinogen mRNA species with molecular size of approximately 1800 bp was observed in rat liver, aorta, kidney, cardiac atria, hypothalamus and whole brain. Little or no angiotensinogen mRNA was identified in the pituitary gland. Angiotensinogen mRNA was most abundant in rat liver, hypothalamus, aorta and progressively less abundant in whole brain, cardiac atria and kidney. A twofold induction of hepatic angiotensinogen mRNA levels in E2-OVX rats was observed by 4h. The angiotensinogen mRNA levels in kidney were threefold higher by 4h compared with OVX control animals. In aorta, the angiotensinogen mRNA level was also threefold higher by 1 h after E2 treatment. No significant effect of estradiol treatment was observed in cardiac atria although the level of angiotensinogen mRNA was higher in intact female rats compared with OVX controls.These results suggest that estrogen modulates angiotensinogen gene expression in a tissue-specific manner.