Defective renal salt and water excretion, together with increased salt intake, frequently contributes to hypertension. Recent studies indicate that Ste20 family kinases, such as proline-alanine-rich Ste20-related kinase (SPAK) and oxidative stress-response protein 1 (OSR1), are regulators of cell volume, ion transport, and hypertension. The aim of this study was to investigate whether mammalian sterile 20-like protein kinase 3 (MST3), which is also a stress-regulated kinase, is involved in the development of hypertension. MST3 expression was compared in Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) and spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) kidneys. MST3 expression was markedly reduced in principal cells of the collecting ducts from the renal inner medulla of SHR. The downregulation of MST3 expression was observed before and after the onset of hypertension in SHR. Mice fed high-salt diets (HS) exhibited a significant increase in MST3 protein level. This is the first study reporting that MST3, a Ste20-like kinase, exerts a conserved regulatory role in sodium homeostasis after high-salt diet and in the development of hypertension.
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