Our laboratory has shown that a locus on the SHR Y chromosome increases blood pressure (BP) in the SHR rat and in WKY rats with the SHR Y chromosome (SHR/y rat). A candidate for this Y chromosome hypertension locus is Sry, a gene that encodes a transcription factor responsible for testes determination. The SHR Y chromosome has six divergent Sry loci. The following study examined if exogenous Sry1 or Sry2 delivered to the kidney would elevate renal tyrosine hydroxylase, renal catecholamines, plasma catecholamines and telemetered BP over a 28 day period. We delivered 50 μg of either the expression construct Sry1/pcDNA 3.1, Sry2/pcDNA 3.1, or control vector into the medulla of the left kidney of normotensive WKY rats by electroporation. Weekly air stress was performed to determine BP responsiveness. Separate groups of animals were tested for renal function and plasma hormone patterns and pharmacological intervention using alpha adrenergic receptor blockade. Pre-surgery baseline and weekly blood samples were taken from Sry1 electroporated and control vector males for plasma renin, aldosterone, and corticosterone. BP was measured by telemetry and tyrosine hydroxylase and catecholamines by HPLC with electrochemical detection.
In the animals receiving the Sry1 plasmid there were significant increases after 21 days in resting plasma norepinephrine (NE, 27%) and renal tyrosine hydroxylase content (41%, p < .05) compared to controls. BP was higher in animals electroporated with Sry1 (143 mmHg, p < .05) compared to controls (125 mmHg) between 2–4 weeks. Also the pressor response to air stress was significantly elevated in males electroporated with Sry1 (41 mmHg) compared to controls (28 mmHg, p < .001). Sry2 did not elevate BP or SNS indices and further tests were not done. The hormone profiles for plasma renin, aldosterone, and corticosterone between electroporated Sry1 and control vector males showed no significant differences over the 28 day period. Alpha adrenergic receptor blockade prevented the air stress pressor response in both strains. Urinary dopamine significantly increased after 7 days post Sry electroporation.
These results are consistent with a role for Sry1 in increasing BP by directly or indirectly activating renal sympathetic nervous system activity.