Expression of the sodium iodide symporter in human kidney

Christine Spitzweg, Charyl M. Dutton, Maria R. Castro, Elizabeth R. Bergert, John R. Goellner, Armin E. Heufelder, John C. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Background. The human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS) is a transmembrane protein that mediates the active transport of iodide in the thyroid gland. Following cloning of NIS, NIS expression has been detected in a broad range of nonthyroidal tissues, suggesting that iodide transport in these tissues is conferred by the expression of functional NIS protein. Methods. The aim of this study was to examine functional hNIS expression in kidney by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), ribonuclease protection assay (RPA), immunohistochemistry, and Western blot analysis accompanied by iodide accumulation studies in kidney cells. Results. Using a pair of full-length hNIS-specific oligonucleotide primers, RT-PCR followed by Southern hybridization revealed hNIS mRNA expression in normal human kidney tissue. The PCR products were subjected to automated sequencing and revealed full identity with the published human thyroid-derived NIS cDNA sequence. Furthermore, positive protected bands indicating the presence of hNIS mRNA were apparent in RPA gel lanes corresponding to human kidney cells as well as Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells stably transfected with hNIS cDNA and Graves' thyroid tissue. Immunohistochemical analysis of normal human kidney tissue using a mouse monoclonal hNIS-specific antibody showed marked hNIS-specific immunoreactivity confined to tubular cells, while no hNIS-specific immunoreactivity was detected in the glomeruli. NIS protein expression in human kidney cells was further confirmed by Western blot analysis. In addition, accumulation of 125I was detected in human kidney cells in vitro and was shown to be sodium dependent and sensitive to perchlorate. Conclusions. Functional hNIS expression was demonstrated in the renal tubular system, suggesting that renal iodide transport may be, at least in part, an active process driven by NIS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4492116
Pages (from-to)1013-1023
Number of pages11
JournalKidney international
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Clearance of iodide
  • Membrane protein
  • Renal iodide transport
  • Thyroid tissue
  • Transmembrane protein
  • Tubules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of the sodium iodide symporter in human kidney'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this