Heddwen L Brooks

Heddwen L Brooks

Associate Professor, Pharmacology
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Physiological Sciences - GIDP
Professor, Physiology
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 626-7702

Research Interest

Research Interest
Dr. Brooks is a renal physiologist and has developed microarray technology to address in vivo signaling pathways involved in the hormonal regulation of renal function. Current areas of research in the Brooks Laboratory are focused on importance of sex differences in the onset of postmenopausal hypertension and diabetic kidney disease and identifying new therapies for polycystic kidney disease and lithium-induced nephropathy.


Pollow, D. P., Uhrlaub, J., Romero-Aleshire, M. J., Sandberg, K., Nikolich-Zugich, J., Brooks, H. L., & Hay, M. (2014). Sex differences in T-lymphocyte tissue infiltration and development of angiotensin II hypertension. Hypertension, 64(2), 384-90.
BIO5 Collaborators
Heddwen L Brooks, Meredith Hay

There is extensive evidence that activation of the immune system is both necessary and required for the development of angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced hypertension in males. The purpose of this study was to determine whether sex differences exist in the ability of the adaptive immune system to induce Ang II-dependent hypertension and whether central and renal T-cell infiltration during Ang II-induced hypertension is sex dependent. Recombinant activating gene-1 (Rag-1)(-/-) mice, lacking both T and B cells, were used. Male and female Rag-1(-/-) mice received adoptive transfer of male CD3(+) T cells 3 weeks before 14-day Ang II infusion (490 ng/kg per minute). Blood pressure was monitored via tail cuff. In the absence of T cells, systolic blood pressure responses to Ang II were similar between sexes (Δ22.1 mm Hg males versus Δ18 mm : Hg females). After adoptive transfer of male T cells, Ang II significantly increased systolic blood pressure in males (Δ37.7 mm : Hg; P

Carmosino, M., Brooks, H. L., Cai, Q., Davis, L. S., Opalenik, S., Hao, C., & Breyer, M. D. (2007). Axial heterogeneity of vasopressin-receptor subtypes along the human and mouse collecting duct. American journal of physiology. Renal physiology, 292(1), F351-60.

Vasopressin and vasopressin antagonists are finding expanded use in mouse models of disease and in clinical medicine. To provide further insight into the physiological role of V1a and V2 vasopressin receptors in the human and mouse kidney, intrarenal localization of the receptors mRNA was determined by in situ hybridization. V2-receptor mRNA was predominantly expressed in the medulla, whereas mRNA for V1a receptors predominated in the cortex. The segmental localization of vasopressin-receptor mRNAs was determined using simultaneous in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry for segment-specific markers, including aquaporin-2, Dolichos biflorus agglutinin, epithelial Na channels, Tamm Horsfall glycoprotein, and thiazide-sensitive Na(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter. Notably, V1a receptor expression was exclusively expressed in V-ATPase/anion exchanger-1-labeled alpha-intercalated cells of the medullary collecting duct in both mouse and human kidney. In cortical collecting ducts, V1a mRNA was more widespread and detected in both principal and intercalated cells. V2-receptor mRNA is diffusely expressed along the collecting ducts in both mouse and human kidney, with higher expression levels in the medulla. These results demonstrate heterogenous axial expression of both V1a and V2 vasopressin receptors along the human and mouse collecting duct. The restricted expression of V1a-receptor mRNA in intercalated cells suggests a role for this receptor in acid-base balance. These findings further suggest distinct regulation of renal transport function by AVP through V1a and V2 receptors in the cortex vs. the medulla.

Knepper, M. A., & Brooks, H. L. (2001). Regulation of the sodium transporters NHE3, NKCC2 and NCC in the kidney. Current opinion in nephrology and hypertension, 10(5), 655-9.

The regulation of sodium transport in the kidney is important for maintenance of extracellular fluid volume and arterial blood-pressure regulation. The major sodium transporters and channels in individual renal tubule segments have been identified via physiological techniques, and complementary DNAs for all of the key sodium transporters and channels expressed along the renal tubule have been cloned. Complementary DNA probes and antibodies are now being used to investigate the molecular basis of renal tubule sodium-transport regulation. This review summarizes some of the major observations made in the past year that are relevant to the regulation of the major sodium transporters in the proximal tubule (the type 3 sodium-hydrogen exchanger, NHE3), the thick ascending limb of Henle (the bumetanide-sensitive sodium-potassium-chloride cotransporter, NKCC2), and the distal convoluted tubule (the thiazide-sensitive sodium-chloride cotransporter, NCC).

Brooks, H. L., Regan, J. W., & Yool, A. J. (2000). Inhibition of aquaporin-1 water permeability by tetraethylammonium: involvement of the loop E pore region. Molecular pharmacology, 57(5), 1021-6.

Previously, the only known blockers of water permeability through aquaporin-1 (AQP1) water channels were mercurial reagents such as HgCl(2). For AQP1, inhibition by mercury has been attributed to the formation of a mercaptide bond with cysteine residue 189 found in the putative pore-forming region loop E. Here we show that the nonmercurial compound, tetraethylammonium (TEA) chloride, reduces the water permeability of human AQP1 channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes. After preincubation of the oocytes for 15 min with 100 microM TEA, AQP1 water permeability was reduced by 20 to 40%, a degree of partial block similar to that obtained with 15 min of incubation in 100 microM HgCl(2). The reduction of water permeability was dose-dependent for tested concentrations up to 10 mM TEA. TEA blocks the Shaker potassium channel by interacting with a tyrosine residue in the outer pore region. We tested whether an analogous tyrosine residue in loop E of AQP1 could be involved in the binding of TEA. Using polymerase chain reaction, tyrosine 186 in AQP1, selected for its proximity to the mercury-binding site, was mutated to phenylalanine (Y186F), alanine (Y186A), or asparagine (Y186N). Oocyte expression of the mutant AQP1 channels showed that the water permeability of Y186F was equivalent to that of wild-type AQP1; the other mutant channels did not conduct water. However, in contrast to wild-type AQP1, the water permeability of Y186F was not reduced with 100 microM TEA. These results suggest that TEA reduces AQP1 water permeability by interacting with loop E.

Brooks, H., Cai, Q., Keck, M., McReynolds, M. R., Klein, J. D., Greer, K., Sharma, K., Hoying, J. B., Sands, J. M., & Brooks, H. L. (2006). Effects of water restriction on gene expression in mouse renal medulla: identification of 3betaHSD4 as a collecting duct protein. American journal of physiology. Renal physiology, 291(1).

To identify novel gene targets of vasopressin regulation in the renal medulla, we performed a cDNA microarray study on the inner medullary tissue of mice following a 48-h water restriction protocol. In this study, 4,625 genes of the possible approximately 12,000 genes on the array were included in the analysis, and of these 157 transcripts were increased and 63 transcripts were decreased by 1.5-fold or more. Quantitative, real-time PCR measurements confirmed the increases seen for 12 selected transcripts, and the decreases were confirmed for 7 transcripts. In addition, we measured transcript abundance for many renal collecting duct proteins that were not represented on the array; aquaporin-2 (AQP2), AQP3, Pax-8, and alpha- and beta-Na-K-ATPase subunits were all significantly increased in abundance; the beta- and gamma-subunits of ENaC and the vasopressin type 1A receptor were significantly decreased. To correlate changes in mRNA expression with changes in protein expression, we carried out quantitative immunoblotting. For most of the genes examined, changes in mRNA abundances were not associated with concomitant protein abundance changes; however, AQP2 transcript abundance and protein abundance did correlate. Surprisingly, aldolase B transcript abundance was increased but protein abundance was decreased following 48 h of water restriction. Several transcripts identified by microarray were novel with respect to their expression in mouse renal medullary tissues. The steroid hormone enzyme 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 4 (3betaHSD4) was identified as a novel target of vasopressin regulation, and via dual labeling immunofluorescence we colocalized the expression of this protein to AQP2-expressing collecting ducts of the kidney. These studies have identified several transcripts whose abundances are regulated in mouse inner medulla in response to an increase in endogenous vasopressin levels and could play roles in the regulation of salt and water excretion.