Left ventricular hypertrophy remains a significant clinical problem and a predictor of fatal outcome in hypertension. Blood pressure per se and environmental modifiers including stress affect cardiac mass. Heat shock proteins are involved in the stress response as well as in the regulation of cardiac growth and cytoprotection. The present study evaluates heat shock protein 27 as a locus marker or candidate gene of cardiac hypertrophy in hypertension. The spontaneously hypertensive rat allele of heat shock protein 27 was associated with about a 6% increase in relative left ventricular weight (P = .0112) in 30 recombinant inbred strains from crosses of Brown Norway and spontaneously hypertensive rats. In 336 F2 crosses of spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar-Kyoto rats, the hypertensive allele was dominant and cosegregated with a similar 6% increase in the ratio of left ventricular weight to body weight (P = .0058) in rats fed a normal salt diet, but its contribution to left ventricular weight decreased in rats kept on a high salt diet. The contribution of the heat shock protein 27 allele was independent of blood pressure. We suggest that heat shock protein 27 represents a candidate gene/locus marker of cardiac hypertrophy in hypertension.
Activation of the sympathoadrenal system (SAS, comprising the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal medulla) in response to stressful stimuli is an important defense mechanism as well as a contributor to several cardiovascular diseases. There is variability in the SAS response to stress, although the extent to which this is genetically regulated is unclear. Some rodent models, including the hereditary hypertriglyceridemic (hHTg) rat, are hyperresponsive to stress. We investigated whether quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that affect sympathoadrenal response to stress could be identified. Second filial generation rats (n = 189) derived from a cross of the hHTg rat and the Brown Norway rat had plasma norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (Epi) levels, indices of activation of the sympathoneural and adrenal medulla components, respectively, measured in the resting state and in response to an immobilization stress. Responses were assessed early (20 min) and late (120 min) after the application of the stress. A genome scan was conducted using 153 microsatellite markers. Two QTLs (maximum peak LOD scores of 4.17 and 3.52, respectively) influencing both the early and late plasma NE response to stress were found on chromosome 10. Together, the QTLs accounted for approximately 20% of the total variation in both the early and late NE responses in the F(2) rats. Interestingly, the QTLs had no effect on plasma Epi response to stress. These findings provide evidence for a genetic determination of the response of a specific component of the SAS response to stress. Genetically determined variation in sympathetic nervous system response to stress may contribute to cardiovascular diseases.
AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Hypertriglyceridaemia is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease, especially in the context of the insulin resistance syndrome where it often occurs with hypertension. The two phenotypes are also associated in the hereditary hypertriglyceridaemic (hHTg) rat. The aim of this study was to map quantitative trait loci that affect plasma triglyceride concentration in the hHTg rat and determine whether they co-localize with loci for blood pressure. METHODS: Second filial generation progeny (n=189) from a cross of the hHTg rat with the Brown Norway rat were phenotyped for fasting plasma triglyceride, glucose and insulin concentrations, and direct unrestrained resting blood pressure. A partial genome-scan was conducted using 153 microsatellite markers that were polymorphic between the two strains. RESULTS: A major locus (lod score 6.5) influencing plasma triglyceride concentration in a co-dominant fashion was mapped to chromosome 4 between D1Mit 5 and D1Mit17. Chromosome 8 contained multiple peaks with a lod score greater than 4.0 influencing triglyceride concentration. Importantly, none of the triglyceride loci had an effect on blood pressure. The triglyceride locus on chromosome 4 co-localized with a locus for fasting plasma insulin (lod score 4.1), although the effect on insulin concentration was in the opposite direction to that on triglyceride. CONCLUSION/INTERPRETATION: We have mapped the major loci that affect plasma triglyceride concentration in the hHTg rat. These loci do not influence blood pressure suggesting that these commonly associated phenotypes of the insulin resistance syndrome are not be due to pleiotropic effects of the same gene(s).