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Hypertension. 2008 Feb;51(2):567-73. Epub 2007 Dec 17.

Altered soluble epoxide hydrolase gene expression and function and vascular disease risk in the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat.

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Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 1825 Pressler St, #530.G, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) metabolizes epoxyeicosatrienoic acids and represents a novel therapeutic target in cardiovascular disease treatment. We investigated the relationship among sequence variation in the sEH gene (Ephx2), sEH function, and risk of end-organ injury in strains of spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHRs) differing in their susceptibility to develop brain vascular disease. Brain Ephx2 expression was significantly lower in stroke-prone (SHR/A3) than in stroke-resistant (SHR/N) SHRs (5-fold; P<0.0001). Resequencing of the Ephx2 promoter in the 2 strains identified 3 polymorphisms that significantly influenced promoter transcriptional activity in vitro. Measurements of brain sEH enzyme activity and plasma levels of arachidonate and linoleate metabolites of sEH further suggested significant differences between the 2 strains. Ratios of epoxyoctadecenoic acids to dihydroxyoctadecenoic acids were significantly higher, indicating a lower sEH activity in SHR/A3 than in SHR/N (P<0.0001). Plasma dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acid levels were lower in SHR/A3 than in SHR/N (P<0.0001), but plasma epoxyeicosatrienoic acids levels were similar in the 2 strains. Association analysis of Ephx2 polymorphism in the F2 progeny of an SHR/A3xSHR/N cross showed that animals carrying the SHR/A3 allele of Ephx2 had a greater risk of stroke and associated urinary proteinuria than animals that do not. Investigation of patterns of allelic similarities and differences among multiple stroke-prone and stroke-resistant SHR substrains showed that Ephx2 belongs to a haplotype block shared among all of the stroke-prone but no stroke-resistant substrains. These data support a role for Ephx2 polymorphism on sEH gene expression and function and risk of end-organ injury in the stroke-prone SHR.

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