Naturally Occurring Genetic Variants in Human Chromogranin A (CHGA) Associated with Hypertension as well as Hypertensive Renal Disease

Renal Division, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing 100034, China.
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (Impact Factor: 2.51). 11/2010; 30(8):1395-400. DOI: 10.1007/s10571-010-9600-2
Source: PubMed


Chromogranin A (CHGA) plays a fundamental role in the biogenesis of catecholamine secretory granules. Changes in storage and release of CHGA in clinical and experimental hypertension prompted us to study whether genetic variation at the CHGA locus might contribute to alterations in autonomic function, and hence hypertension and its target organ consequences such as hypertensive renal disease (nephrosclerosis). Systematic polymorphism discovery across the human CHGA locus revealed both common and unusual variants in both the open reading frame and such regulatory regions as the proximal promoter and 30-UTR. In chromaffin cell-transfected CHGA 30-UTR and promoter/luciferase reporter plasmids, the functional consequences of the regulatory/non-coding allelic variants were documented. Variants in both the proximal promoter and the 30-UTR displayed statistical associations with hypertension. Genetic variation in the proximal CHGA promoter predicted glomerular filtration rate in healthy twins. However, for hypertensive renal damage, both end-stage renal disease and rate of progression of earlier disease were best predicted by variants in the 30-UTR. Finally, mechanistic studies were undertaken initiated by the clue that CHGA promoter variation predicted circulating endothelin-1. In cultured endothelial cells, CHGA triggered co-release of not only the vasoconstrictor and pro-fibrotic endothelin-1, but also the pro-coagulant von Willebrand Factor and the pro-angiogenic angiopoietin-2. These findings, coupled with stimulation of endothelin-1 release from glomerular capillary endothelial cells by CHGA, suggest a plausible mechanism whereby genetic variation at the CHGA locus eventuates in alterations in human renal function. These results document the consequences of genetic variation at the CHGA locus for cardiorenal disease and suggest mechanisms whereby such variation achieves functional effects.

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    • "The functions of chromogranins include vesicle sorting, production of bioactive peptides, and accumulation of soluble species inside the vesicles (Iacangelo and Eiden 1995; Taupenot et al. 2003). Naturally occurring genetic variations in the chromogranin genes were shown to be associated with systemic hypertension (Zhang et al. 2009; Chen et al. 2010). Here, the results demonstrate that in contrast to VMAT2 or to catecholamine biosynthetic enzymes, gene expression of CgA and CgB is only elevated following repeated, but not single exposure to immobilization stress. "
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    ABSTRACT: With acute stress, the release of adrenomedullary catecholamines is important for handling the emergency situation. However, when chronic or repeated, stress alters the allostatic load and leads to a hyperadrenergic state, resulting in the development or worsening of a wide range of diseases. To help elucidate the mechanism, we examined the effects of single and repeated immobilization stress on gene expression of components of neurosecretory vesicles in the adrenal medulla. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to immobilization stress once for 2 h (1× IMO) or daily for six consecutive days (6× IMO). Compared to unstressed controls, 1× IMO elevated gene expression of vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2). In response to 6× IMO, not only was VMAT2 mRNA still elevated, but chromogranin A (CgA) and chromogranin B (CgB) mRNAs were also increased two to three-fold above basal levels. To investigate the possible role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in the induction of VMAT2, PC12 cells were treated with the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone, which was found to elevate VMAT2 mRNA expression. The findings suggest that following repeated stress, elevations of various components of neurosecretory vesicles in the adrenal can facilitate more efficient utilization of the well-characterized heightened catecholamine levels.
    Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 12/2011; 32(5):795-800. DOI:10.1007/s10571-011-9785-z · 2.51 Impact Factor