The spontaneously hypertensive rat Y chromosome produces an early testosterone rise in normotensive rats

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ObjectiveTo investigate the relationship between testosterone and blood pressure during the rapid development phase of blood pressure rise in four strains of rats: Wistar–Kyoto (WKY) rats; spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR); SHR/y, a substrain with an SHR Y chromosome and WKY rat autosomes and X chromosomes; and SHR/a, a substrain with SHR autosomes and X chromosomes and the WKY rat Y chromosome.MethodsBlood pressure was measured every 2 weeks by the tail-cuff method, and was verified in selected rats at 23 weeks by aortic telemetry. Serum testosterone was measured, by radioimmunoassay, every 2 weeks from 5 to 23 weeks of age.ResultsDuring the rapid phase of blood pressure rise, between 5 and 9 weeks of age, there was a significantly larger rise in serum testosterone in SHR and SHR/y than in WKY rats and SHR/a groups. The hypertensive Y chromosome in the SHR and SHR/y accelerated peak testosterone approximately 4 weeks earlier, and blood pressure was increased in these two groups compared with the SHR/a and WKY rat groups, respectively. A gene on the SHR Y chromosome (Tty) affecting the timing of testosterone in development is proposed. At approximately 15 weeks of age testosterone levels decreased sharply towards prepubertal levels in WKY rats and at 23 weeks in SHR/y, whereas testosterone levels were maintained in SHR and SHR/a, which suggests an autosomal component.ConclusionThe SHR Y chromosome may accelerate the start of puberty and a cascade of molecular and neuroendocrine events that raise blood pressure.

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