Molecular phenotyping for analyzing subtle genetic effects in mice: application to an angiotensinogen gene titration.

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Animal, Blood-Pressure, Female, Gene-Expression, Male, Mice, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Phenotype, Renin, Reverse-Transcriptase-Polymerase-Chain-Reaction, Sex-Factors, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S

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Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002 Apr; 99(7):4602-7.




The angiotensinogen M235T polymorphism in humans is linked to differential expression of the human angiotensinogen gene (AGT) gene and hypertension, but the homeostatic responses resulting from this polymorphism are not known. We therefore investigated how mice respond to five genetically determined levels of mouse angiotensinogen gene (Agt) expression covering the range associated with the M235T variants. By using high-throughput molecular phenotyping, tissue RNAs were assayed for expression of 10 genes important in hypertension. Significant positive and negative responses occurred in both sexes as Agt expression increased twofold, including a three-fold increase in aldosterone synthase expression in adrenal gland, and a two-fold decrease in renin expression in kidney. In males, cardiac expression of the precursor of atrial natriuretic peptide B and of adrenomedullin also increased approximately twofold. The relative expression of all genes studied except Agt differed significantly in the two sexes, and several unexpected relationships were encountered. A highly significant correlation between renal expression of the angiotensin type 1a receptor and kallikrein, independent of Agt genotype, is present in females (P < 0.0001) but not males (P = 0.4). The correlation between blood pressure (BP) and liver Agt expression within the five Agt genotypes is significant in females (P = 0.0005) but not in males (P = 0.2), whereas correlation of BP with differences between the genotypes is less in females (P = 0.06) than in males (P = 0.001). The marked gender differences in gene expression in wild-type mice and the changes induced by moderate alterations in Agt expression and BP emphasize the need to look for similar differences in humans.