Cardiac mass and cardiomyocyte size are governed by different genetic loci on either autosomes or chromosome Y in recombinant inbred mice

Bastien Llamas, Sonia Bélanger, Sylvie Picard, Christian F Deschepper
Physiological Genomics 2007 October 22, 31 (2): 176-82
Left ventricular hypertrophy is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. It has been proposed that hypertrophic stimuli act in great part by increasing the size of cardiomyocytes, and that the latter characteristic is a necessary condition to differentiate left ventricular hypertrophy from other benign forms of cardiac enlargement. To test whether the same genetic loci control the size of cardiomyocytes and left ventricular mass, we performed whole genome linkage analyses in a panel of 24 recombinant inbred AXB/BXA mouse strains. Whereas one major locus was linked to left ventricular mass in both males and females, loci linked to the size of cardiomyocytes were clearly distinct and showed sex-specific linkage. Moreover, the parental origin of chromosome Y had strong effects on the size of cardiomyocytes in male mice but did not affect left ventricular mass. In addition to showing that genetic loci that increase the size of cardiomyocytes are not necessarily linked to increased left ventricular mass, our findings have important consequences in evaluating cardiac phenotypes when performing genetic manipulations in mice, and in determining the cause of sex-specific differences when using models derived from C57BL/6J mice.

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