Academic Editor: José Luis Pérez-Castrillón
Background: Although the mesenteric artery plays a key role in regulating peripheral blood pressure, the molecular mechanisms that underlie the development of essential hypertension are not yet fully understood. Materials and Methods: We explored candidate genes for hypertension using three related strains of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) that mimic human essential hypertension. In this study we used DNA microarrays, a powerful tool for studying genetic diseases, to compare gene expression in the mesenteric artery of three SHR substrains: SHR, stroke-prone SHR (SHRSP), and malignant SHRSP (M-SHRSP). Results: Compared to normotensive 6-week old Wistar Kyoto rats (WKY), higher blood pressure correlated with overexpression of 31 genes and with down regulation of 24 genes. Adam23, which negatively regulates potassium current, and the potassium channel genes, Kcnc2 and Kcnq5, were associated with the onset of hypertension. In addition, Spock2 and Agtrap were identified as strengtheners of hypertension by analyzing up and down regulated genes at 9-weeks of age. Conclusions: Adam23, Kcnc2 and Kcnq5 appear to be factors for the onset of hypertension, while Spock2 and Agtrap are as factors that strengthen hypertension. These findings contribute to our understanding of the pathophysiology of hypertension and to the development of treatment for this condition.