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Kidney Int. 1998 Jun;53(6):1488-92.

Newborn and adult recombinant inbred strains: a tool to search for genetic determinants of target organ damage in hypertension.

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Centre de Recherche du C.H.U.M, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.


It has been proposed that one of the primary events in the development of essential hypertension is a growth-related process initiated as early as during fetal development. Differences in kidney size have been observed between most rat models of hypertension and their respective controls. In this study, we analyzed relative kidney size (kidney weight/body wt) in a set of rat recombinant inbred strains (RIS) (N = 27) and their progenitors, the spontaneously hypertensive rat strain (SHR/Ola) and Brown Norway congenic strain (BN.1x), at two different ages, at birth and at 15 weeks. In the progenitors, the relative kidney weight was higher in the hypertensive than in the normotensive strain of both the newborn (P < 0.001) and adult (P < 0.001) animals. In the RIS, a significant correlation was found between the newborn and adult relative kidney weight (r = 0.49, P = 0.01), indicating that the two phenotypes share some of their genetic determinants. A total genome search of newborn and adult relative kidney weight was performed with a total of 453 genetic markers. These analyses revealed several suggestive quantitative trait loci (QTL), some of which were, indeed, significant for both newborn and adult relative kidney weight (such as, D3Mit9 on rat chromosome 3; r = -0.50, P < 0.01; r = -0.47, P < 0.01; respectively). Others, such as the locus on rat chromosome 1 (Rt6; r = -0.43, P < 0.05), were significant only for the adult relative kidney size. This QTL was found in close proximity to a region previously related to susceptibility to hypertensive renal disease in the fawn-hooded rat and, similarly to that study, its effect was found to be independent of blood pressure. Furthermore, a growth pattern of the kidneys after birth, evaluated as the difference between the newborn and adult relative kidney weight, was also subjected to total genome scan. Several suggestive QTL were identified. One of the most significant loci was found at the D1a marker on rat chromosome 17 (r = -0.51, P < 0.01), which was previously related to the determination of adult heart weight in the RIS. In conclusion, the current study demonstrates the usefulness of RIS in studies of hypertension-related phenotypes, some of which are abnormal before the development of high blood pressure. To better understand their role in the pathogenesis of hypertension, studies at different ages are needed, which are uniquely feasible in RIS.

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