Successful Isolation of a Rat Chromosome 1 Blood Pressure Quantitative Trait Locus in Reciprocal Congenic Strains

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Linkage analyses in experimental crosses of hypertensive and normotensive rats have strongly suggested the presence of a quantitative trait locus (QTL) influencing blood pressure on rat chromosome 1, at or near the Sa gene. To confirm the presence of such a locus and move toward identification of the causative gene, we have developed, through targeted breeding over 10 generations using an Sa gene polymorphism to select breeders at each generation, 2 congenic strains, 1 containing a segment of spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) chromosome 1 in a Wistar-Kyoto rat (WKY) genetic background (WKY.SHR-Sa), and the other a segment of WKY chromosome 1 in an SHR background (SHR.WKY-Sa). WKY.SHR-Sa contains at least [almost equal to]26 cM of SHR chromosome 1, between markers mD7mit206 and D1Mit2 (and including the SHR allele of the Sa gene), and SHR.WKY-Sa carries at least [almost equal to]15 cM of WKY chromosome 1, between mD7mit206 and D1Wox34 (and including the WKY allele of the Sa gene). Blood pressure of WKY.SHR-Sa rats measured at 16, 20, and 25 weeks of age was significantly higher than that of WKY, whereas blood pressure of SHR.WKY-Sa rats was significantly lower than that of SHR. At 25 weeks, the mean differences in systolic and diastolic blood pressure between WKY.SHR-Sa and WKY were +11.5 mm Hg (P=0.001) and +11.6 mm Hg mm Hg (P<0.001), respectively. The corresponding differences between SHR.WKy-Sa and SHR were -11.3 mm Hg (P=0.002) and -9.1 mm Hg (P=0.005), respectively. The differences represent about one fifth of the blood pressure difference between SHR and WKY. Renal Sa mRNA levels in the congenic strains reflected their Sa allele with a high level in WKY.SHR-Sa and a low level in SHR.WKY-Sa, consistent with previous data suggesting that the level of Sa expression is primarily determined by cis-acting elements in or near the Sa gene. Our results show that we have successfully isolated a major rat chromosome 1 blood pressure QTL located in the vicinity of the Sa gene in reciprocal congenic strains derived from SHR and WKY. The strains can now be used to further define the region containing the QTL and also to characterize intermediary mechanisms through which the QTL influences blood pressure. In addition, comparison of the regions introgressed in our congenic strains with the location of the peak LOD score for chromosome 1 blood pressure QTL in second filial generation progeny derived from our SHR x WKY cross suggests that there may be at least 1 further QTL influencing blood pressure on this rat chromosome. (Hypertension. 1998;32:639-646.)

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