New quantitative trait loci for carotid atherosclerosis identified in an intercross derived from apolipoprotein E-deficient mouse strains

Physiol Genomics. 2013 Apr 16;45(8):332-42. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00099.2012. Epub 2013 Mar 5.


Carotid atherosclerosis is the primary cause of ischemic stroke. To identify genetic factors contributing to carotid atherosclerosis, we performed quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis using female mice derived from an intercross between C57BL/6J (B6) and BALB/cJ (BALB) apolipoprotein E (Apoe(-/-)) mice. We started 266 F(2) mice on a Western diet at 6 wk of age and fed them the diet for 12 wk. Atherosclerotic lesions in the left carotid bifurcation and plasma lipid levels were measured. We genotyped 130 microsatellite markers across the entire genome. Three significant QTLs, Cath1 on chromosome (Chr) 12, Cath2 on Chr5, and Cath3 on Chr13, and four suggestive QTLs on Chr6, Chr9, Chr17, and Chr18 were identified for carotid lesions. The Chr6 locus replicated a suggestive QTL and was named Cath4. Six QTLs for HDL, three QTLs for non-HDL cholesterol, and three QTLs for triglyceride were found. Of these, a significant QTL for non-HDL on Chr1 at 60.3 cM, named Nhdl13, and a suggestive QTL for HDL on ChrX were new. A significant locus for HDL (Hdlq5) was overlapping with a suggestive locus for carotid lesions on Chr9. A significant correlation between carotid lesion sizes and HDL cholesterol levels was observed in the F(2) population (R = -0.153, P = 0.0133). Thus, we have identified several new QTLs for carotid atherosclerosis and the locus on Chr9 may exert effect through interactions with HDL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / deficiency*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / genetics*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*


  • Apolipoproteins E