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Plasma prorenin: Cryoactivation and relationship to renin substrate in normal subjects

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      Abstract

      We previously demonstrated an inactive form of renin, termed prorenin, in the plasma of normal, hypertensive and anephric patients. Prorenin activity can be determined in plasma from the total renin activity after activation, minus the prior endogenous plasma renin activity.
      In the present study, conditions for cryoactivation of prorenin have been defined. Plasma prorenin is slowly converted to active reninlike material at -5 °C at pH 7.4. Activation takes four days and does not occur at pH 5.0. The degree of activation increases above pH 5 and is greatest between pH 7 and pH 9. Thus, almost no cryoactivation of prorenin occurs at the pH optimum for renin (5.7) in contrast to maximum activation at pH 7.4. No activation has been observed in the frozen state, but it does occur with decreasing rapidity at temperatures from −5 ° to +4 °C. Since blood samples obtained for the determination of plasma renin activity are routinely chilled upon collection by most laboratories, some activation of prorenin most likely occurs in all routine renin assays.
      The pH optimum of the enzymatic reaction of the activated prorenin in plasma is 5.8, the same as for renal renin, and the shape of the pH optimum curve is similar to that of renal renin added to human plasma.
      In a group of 23 normal subjects with plasma renin activity of 3.5 ± 2.9 (SD), the activated prorenin increment was found to be significantly higher, 6.3 ± 5.0 (SD) ng/ml/hour. Unlike plasma renin activity, prorenin activity in these normal subjects was directly related to the concentration of renin substrate (p < 0.001). When the actual “concentration” of prorenin was calculated using renal renin as the reference standard, a direct relationship was also found between the concentration of prorenin and renin substrate (p < 0.01). The observed relationship between prorenin and renin substrate concentrations might be a consequence of their regulation by common factors.
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