Human Tissue Kallikrein Induces Hypotension in Transgenic Mice

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We investigated the role of the kallikrein-kinin system in blood pressure control by developing transgenic mice overexpressing human tissue kallikrein. Two lines of transgenic mice carrying the human tissue kallikrein gene under the control of the mouse metallothionein metal-responsive promoter were established. Human tissue kallikrein was identified in pancreas, salivary gland, kidney, liver, and spleen of the transgenic mice by a specific radioimmunoassay for human tissue kallikrein. The immunoreactive human tissue kallikrein reached high levels in the circulation. The linear displacement curves for the transgenic product were parallel with the human tissue kallikrein standard curve, indicating their immunologic identity. The expression of human tissue kallikrein transcript in the transgenic mice was further confirmed by Northern blot analysis and by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction followed by Southern blot. Both lines of transgenic mice had significantly lowered blood pressure (86.4±13.5 mm Hg [mean±SD], n=8 and 78.9±12.4 mm Hg, n=8) compared with control mice (100.9±5.0 mm Hg, n=8). Induction with zinc did not lower the blood pressure further despite elevated expression of the transgene. Administration of aprotinin, a potent tissue kallikrein inhibitor, restored the blood pressure of the transgenic mice but had no significant effect on control littermates. Our findings raise the possibility of tissue kallikrein being a powerful modulator of blood pressure and provide a new animal model for the study of blood pressure regulation.

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