Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Juxtaglomerular Cells

The juxtaglomerular cells, or Goormaghtigh cells, are cells which synthesize, store, and secrete the enzyme renin. They are located at the vascular pole of the renal corpuscle in the kidney. Forming a component of the juxtaglomerular complex, they are specialized smooth muscle cells in the wall of the afferent arteriole that delivers blood to the glomerulus. In synthesizing renin, they play a critical role in the renin-angiotensin system and thus in renal autoregulation, the self-governance of the kidney.

Juxtaglomerular cells also harbor ß1 adrenergic receptors, similar to cardiac muscle. When stimulated by epinephrine or norepinephrine, these receptors induce the secretion of renin. In appropriately stained slides, juxtaglomerular cells are distinguished by their granulated cytoplasm.