Research Article| Volume 22, ISSUE 2, P135-147, March 2002

Congenic rat strains are important tools for the genetic dissection of essential hypertension

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      The identification of mutated genes and the characterization of disease pathways in monogenetic forms of human arterial hypertension has been very successful during the past decade, although only little progress has been made with regard to the genetic analysis of essential hypertension. Inbred rat strains that display hypertension as an inherited trait represent an attractive substitute for the dissection of the polygenetic basis of human essential hypertension. The power of studying these inbred models with natural allelic variation is that each strain can be thought of as a different subtype of essential hypertension. Thus, to study the genetics of hypertension using a potpourri of inbred hypertensive rat strains may help to identify a set of genes that can give rise to hypertension in the heterogeneous clinical situation of essential hypertension. Indeed, multiple blood pressure quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been identified in the rat genome and a few of those have been implicated in the human disease by homology mapping already. Here, we discuss the role of congenic breeding strategies to further dissect the genetics of hypertension in the rat. Based on recent accomplishments it can be anticipated that by using congenic strains, the genetic sifting of the collection of blood pressure QTLs identified so far will lead to the identification of additional and new candidate genes. This will open the possibility for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic means contributing to a better control of human essential hypertension. Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
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