Faculty Articles


Receptor Autoradiography Protocol for the Localized Visualization of Angiotensin II Receptors



Publication Title

Journal of Visualized Experiments



Publication Date / Copyright Date



Journal of Visualized Experiments

DOI Number



This protocol describes receptor binding patterns for Angiotensin II (Ang II) in the rat brain using a radioligand specific for Ang II receptors to perform receptor autoradiographic mapping. Tissue specimens are harvested and stored at -80 °C. A cryostat is used to coronally section the tissue (brain) and thaw-mount the sections onto charged slides. The slide-mounted tissue sections are incubated in (125)I-SI-Ang II to radiolabel Ang II receptors. Adjacent slides are separated into two sets: 'non-specific binding' (NSP) in the presence of a receptor saturating concentration of non-radiolabeled Ang II, or an AT1 Ang II receptor subtype (AT1R) selective Ang II receptor antagonist, and 'total binding' with no AT1R antagonist. A saturating concentration of AT2 Ang II receptor subtype (AT2R) antagonist (PD123319, 10 µM) is also present in the incubation buffer to limit (125)I-SI-Ang II binding to the AT1R subtype. During a 30 min pre-incubation at ~22 °C, NSP slides are exposed to 10 µM PD123319 and losartan, while 'total binding' slides are exposed to 10 µM PD123319. Slides are then incubated with (125)I-SI-Ang II in the presence of PD123319 for 'total binding', and PD123319 and losartan for NSP in assay buffer, followed by several 'washes' in buffer, and water to remove salt and non-specifically bound radioligand. The slides are dried using blow-dryers, then exposed to autoradiography film using a specialized film and cassette. The film is developed and the images are scanned into a computer for visual and quantitative densitometry using a proprietary imaging system and a spreadsheet. An additional set of slides are thionin-stained for histological comparisons. The advantage of using receptor autoradiography is the ability to visualize Ang II receptors in situ, within a section of a tissue specimen, and anatomically identify the region of the tissue by comparing it to an adjacent histological reference section.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Angiotensin II, Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists, Animals, Autoradiography, Losartan, Pyridines, Rats, Receptors, Angiotensin

Peer Reviewed

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