Identification of a Genetic Locus on Chromosome 11 That Regulates Leukocyte Infiltration in Mouse Carotid Artery
We demonstrated that inflammatory cells and intima-media thickening are increased in carotids exposed to low-blood flow in the SJL/J (SJL) strain compared with other mouse strains. We hypothesized that the extent of inflammation associated with intima-media thickening is a genetically regulated trait.
Approach and results:
We performed a whole genome approach to measure leukocyte infiltration in the carotid intima as a quantitative trait in a genetic cross between C3HeB/FeJ (C3H/F) and SJL mice. Immunostaining for CD45(+) (a pan-specific leukocyte marker) was performed on carotids from C3H/F, SJL, F1, and N2 progeny to measure leukocyte infiltration. We identified a nearly significant quantitative trait locus for CD45(+) on chromosome (chr) 11 (17 cM, LOD=2.3; significance was considered at threshold P=0.05). Interval mapping showed that the CD45(+) locus on chr 11 accounted for 8% of the variation in the logarithm of odds backcross. Importantly, the CD45(+) locus colocalized with the intima-modifier 2 (Im2) locus, which controls 17% of intima variation. We created 2 Im2 congenic lines of mice (C3H/F.SJL.11.1 and C3H/F.SJL.11.2) to better understand the regulation of intima-media thickening by the chr 11 locus. The C3H/F.SJL.11.1 congenic mouse showed ≈30% of the SJL trait, confirming that CD45(+) cell infiltration contributed to the intima trait.
We discovered a novel locus on chr 11 that controls leukocyte infiltration in the carotid. Importantly, this locus overlaps with our previously published Im2 locus on chr 11. Our study reveals a potential mechanistic relationship between leukocyte infiltration and intima-media thickening in response to decreased blood flow.
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