The identification and function of genes contributing to neurogenic hypertension.

Autonomic dysfunction plays a major role in neurogenic hypertension. We have used microarray gene profiling to generate catalogues of the mRNAs expressed in brain regions involved in regulating cardiovascular parameters in the adult male spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) and its normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) parent. Comparison of these lists has enabled us to identify genes that are expressed differentially between WKY and SHR. We hypothesise that hypertension is associated with changes in the expression of a network of a large number of genes in the brain that, through their activity, form a functional network. Based on purely unbiased mathematical criteria, we have sought to describe this network, and we further hypothesise that disruption of the network is sufficient to restore normal cardiovascular balance to the organism, and that nodal genes may represent effective targets for therapeutic intervention in normalising arterial pressure.

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