Novel Pathogenesis of Hypertension and Diastolic Dysfunction Caused by M3R (Muscarinic Cholinergic 3 Receptor) Signaling

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Multiple quantitative trait loci for blood pressure (BP) are localized in humans and rodent models. Model studies have not only produced human quantitative trait loci homologues but also provided unforeseen mechanistic insights into the function modality of quantitative trait loci actions. Presently, congenic knockins, gene-specific knockout, and in vitro and in vivo function studies were used in a rat model of polygenic hypertension, DSS (Dahl salt sensitive) rats. One gene previously unknown in regulating BP was detected with 1 structural mutation(s) for each of 2 quantitative trait loci classified into 2 separate epistatic modules 1 and 3. C17QTL1 in epistatic module 2 was identified to be the gene Chrm3 encoding the M3R (muscarinic cholinergic 3 receptor), since a single function-enhancing M3RT556M conversion correlated with elevated BP. To definitively prove that the enhanced M3R function is responsible for BP changes by the DSS alleles of C17QTL1, we generated a Chrm3 gene-specific rat knockout. We observed a reduction in BP without tachycardia in both sexes, regardless of the amount of dietary salt, and an improvement in diastolic and kidney dysfunctions. All occurred in spite of a significant reduction in M3R-dependent vasodilation. The previously seen sexual dimorphism for C17QTL1 on BP disappeared in the absence of M3R. A Chrm3-coding variation increased M3R signaling, correlating with higher BP. Removing the M3R signaling led to a decrease in BP and improvements in cardiac and renal malfunctions. A novel pathogenic pathway accounted for a portion of polygenic hypertension and has implications in applying new diagnostic and therapeutic uses against hypertension and diastolic dysfunction.

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