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Hypertension. 2003 May;41(5):1047-55. Epub 2003 Mar 24.

Segment of rat chromosome 20 regulates diet-induced augmentations in adiposity, glucose intolerance, and blood pressure.

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Laboratory of Functional Genomics, Centre de recherche, CHUM Hôtel-Die, 3850 St Urbain St, Montréal, Québec H2W 1T7, Canada.


Previous linkage and association studies have suggested that a region of human chromosome 6 containing the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha gene is involved in the pathogenesis of obesity and obesity-associated hypertension. The aim of the present investigation was to establish whether a segment of rat chromosome 20 (RNO20), which also contains the TNF-alpha gene, determines diet-induced changes in adiposity and blood pressure (BP). The results showed that a transfer of the RNO20 segment from the normotensive Brown Norway (BN) rat onto the background of the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) is associated with a significantly greater increase in adiposity, glucose intolerance, circulating leptin levels, and BP during 12-week, high-fat-diet feeding. In contrast, the transfer is not associated with significant changes in these variables during 12-week, normal-diet feeding. In addition, sequencing of the TNF-alpha gene revealed differences between SHR and BN in the 5'- and 3'-regulatory regions of the gene. Subsequent analyses of TNF-alpha gene expression in fat, muscle, and liver, however, did not provide support for the functional involvement of these differences. In summary, the investigated RNO20 segment contains 1 or more gene variants that affect adiposity, glucose tolerance, serum leptin levels, and BP, but only when the animals are exposed to a particular environment, ie, high-fat-diet feeding. Further studies are needed to identify genes mediating these effects. Considering current changes in our lifestyle involving an increased calorie and fat intake, we believe that gene-environment interactions, such as those described here, play an important role in the current epidemic of obesity and obesity-associated hypertension.

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