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Adrenomedullin gene expression differences in mice do not affect blood pressure but modulate hypertension-induced pathology in males

Caron, Kathleen, Hagaman, John, Nishikimi, Toshio, Kim, Hyung-Suk, Smithies, Oliver
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2007 v.104 no.9 pp. 3420-3425
blood pressure, diabetic nephropathy, females, fibrosis, gene expression, genetic variation, heart, humans, hypertension, hypertrophy, hypotension, kidneys, lipopolysaccharides, males, messenger RNA, mice, pregnancy, proteinuria, renin, sepsis (infection), transgenes
Adrenomedullin (AM) is a potent vasodilator peptide in plasma at picomolar levels. Polymorphisms in the human AM gene have been associated with genetic predisposition to diabetic nephropathy and proteinuria with essential hypertension, and numerous studies have demonstrated that endogenous AM plays a role in protecting the heart and kidneys from fibrosis resulting from cardiovascular disease. Elevated plasma levels of AM are associated with pregnancy and sepsis and with cardiovascular stress and hypertension. However, there are no reports of the effects of genetic differences in the expression of the endogenous AM gene and of gender on blood pressure in these circumstances or on the pathological changes accompanying hypertension. To address these questions, we have generated mice having genetically controlled levels of AM mRNA ranging from [almost equal to]50% to [almost equal to]140% of wild-type levels. These modest changes in AM gene expression have no effect on basal blood pressure. Although pregnancy and sepsis increase plasma AM levels, genetically reducing AM production does not affect the transient hypotension that occurs during normal pregnancy or that is induced by treatment with lipopolysaccharide. Nor does the reduction of AM affect chronic hypertension caused by a renin transgene. However, 50% normal expression of AM enhances cardiac hypertrophy and renal damage in male, but not female, mice with a renin transgene. These observations suggest that the effect of gender on the role of AM in counteracting cardiovascular damage in humans merits careful evaluation.