Objectives: Variations in the blood pressure response to salt-loading, the lack of quality control measures, and the need to prepare the strains for genetic studies led to renewed secondary inbreeding of the original colony of Sabra hypertension prone (SBH) and resistant (SBN) rats in order to regain genotypic and phenotypic homogeneity of the substrains.
Methods: Animals from the original breeding colony were selectively inbred for basal normotension and for susceptibility or resistance to the development of hypertension following salt-loading with deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt. Efficacy of inbreeding was tested by genome screening with 416 microsatellite primer sets. Phenotyping was based on measurements of systolic blood pressure by the tail-cuff methodology in awake, undisturbed animals maintained on standard diet and after salt-loading with DOCA-salt. Telemetric measurements of blood pressure were performed in a small number of animals to validate tail-cuff measurements.
Results: Animals from the new colony were designated SBH/y and SBN/y to differentiate from the original colony. Fourteen generations have been inbred over the past 4 years. Of the 402 microsatellites that amplified, 183 (45.5%) were polymorphic between the two substrains, and not a single locus was found to be heterozygous in either substrain. Phenotypic characteristics are provided for SBH/ y and SBN/y rats with respect to tail-cuff systolic blood pressure. The values obtained, which were validated by telemetry, demonstrate classical features of salt sensitivity or resistance, respectively.
Conclusions: The genetic homogeneity found in SBH/y and SBN/y, the phenotype demonstrating salt-sensitivity or salt-resistance in terms of development of hypertension, and the relatively high frequency of informative genetic markers identify this Sabra rat model as highly suited for studies concerning the molecular genetics of gene-environment interactions affecting blood pressure regulation.