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Cosegregation analysis of natriuretic peptide genes and blood pressure in the spontaneously hypertensive rat

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1. The natriuretic peptide precursor A (Nppa) and B (Nppb) genes are candidate genes for hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR). The purpose of the present study was to determine the role of the Nppa and Nppb genes in the development of hypertension in the SHR.

2. A cohort (n = 162) of F2 segregating intercross animals was established between strains of hypertensive SHR and normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats. Blood pressure and heart weight were measured in each rat at 12–16 weeks of age. Rats were genotyped using 11 informative microsatellite markers, distributed in the vicinity of the Nppa marker on rat chromosome 5 including an Nppb marker. The phenotype values were compared with genotype using the computer packagemapmaker3.0 (Whitehead Institute, Boston, MA, USA) to determine whether there was a link between the genetic variants of the natriuretic peptide family and blood pressure or cardiac hypertrophy.

3. A strong correlation was observed between the Nppa marker and blood pressure. A quantitative trait locus (QTL) for blood pressure on chromosome 5 was identified between the Nppa locus and the D5Mgh15 marker, less than 2 cM from the Nppa locus. The linkage score for the blood pressure QTL on chromosome 5 was 3.8 and the QTL accounted for 43% of the total variance of systolic blood pressure, 54% of diastolic blood pressure and 59% of mean blood pressure. No association was found between the Nppb gene and blood pressure. This is the first report of linkage between the Nppa marker and blood pressure in the rat. There was no correlation between the Nppa or Nppb genes or other markers in this region and either heart weight or left ventricular weight in F2 rats.

4. These findings suggest the existence of a blood pressure-dependent Nppa marker variant or a gene close to Nppa predisposing to spontaneous hypertension in the rat. It provides a strong foundation for further detailed genetic studies in congenic strains, which may help to narrow down the location of this gene and lead to positional cloning.
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Keywords: LOD score; Wistar-Kyoto rat; atrial natriuretic peptide gene; brain natriuretic peptide gene; linkage analysis; quantitative trait locus; spontaneously hypertensive rat

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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