Using a polyclonal antibody against a synthetic fusion protein corresponding to 167 amino acids of the N-terminal region of the human renal mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), an immunohistochemical study was performed to investigate the intraglandular and intracellular localization of the receptor in human kidney, salivary gland, pancreas, mammary gland and sweat gland both at the light and electron microscopic levels. In the kidney, immunoreactivity was observed in distal convoluted tubules, branches of Henle's loop, and collecting tubules in the renal cortex, and papillary and Henle's loops' ducts in the renal medulla. No significant differences in the distribution of immunoreactivity were observed using different fixatives (10% neutral formalin, 100% methanol, 4% paraformaldehyde, PLP (periodate–lysine–2% paraformaldehyde) solution and Zamboni solution) and processing methods (paraffin embedding and frozen sectioning). Immunoreactivity in the kidney was observed in both the cytoplasm and nucleus, with cytoplasmic staining predominant, regardless of the methods of tissue preparation. Immunoelectron microscopy, employing a pre-embedding method, demonstrated the presence of immunoreaction precipitates in nuclei, endoplasmic reticulum, perinuclear cisternae, free cytoplasm and cell membranes. In nuclei, immunoreactivity was observed in euchromatin but not in heterochromatin, which is consistent with an association of MR with specific DNA regulatory elements located in transcriptionally active euchromatin. In other organs, MR was expressed in cells of the excretory ductal system where mineralocorticoids are known to play a role in electrolyte homeostasis.
Journal of Endocrinology (1992) 132, 305–310