Adenosine is released from renal cells, and extracellular adenosine may influence the effects of ischemia on medullary tubule segments by altering ion transport or renal hemodynamics. While adenosine release and excretion are enhanced during renal ischemia, the specific sites of renal adenosine production have not been completely elucidated. In the present study, extracellular adenosine concentrations in suspensions of renal outer medulla and thick ascending limb segments were quantitated by reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography. Media from other medullary (OM) suspensions incubated for 8 and 15 minutes at 0% oxygen contained significantly greater amounts of adenosine (1.404 ± 0.21 and 2.034 ± 0.27 ng/μg protein, respectively), when compared to values obtained from media of suspensions incubated for equivalent periods under non-hypoxic conditions (8, 20, and 95% oxygen), 0.78 ± 0.05 (8 min) and 1.37 ± 0.21 ng/μg protein (15 min). Similarly, adenosine release was greater in medullary thick ascending limb (mTAL) suspensions incubated for 8 minutes at 0% versus 8% oxygen (0.81 ± 0.17 vs. 0.20 ± 0.12 ng/μg protein, respectively). Moreover, the observed increase in adenosine release by thick ascending limbs at 0% oxygen could be inhibited completely by either furosemide or ouabain. These studies demonstrate that: 1) the renal medulla and medullary thick ascending limb are sites of adenosine release; 2) adenosine release by the mTAL is enhanced significantly during hypoxic conditions; and 3) the increased release of adenosine during hypoxia appears to be related to ion transport and oxidative metabolism, as the increased release was prevented by two disparate inhibitors of transport in this segment.
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