Clinical and experimental studies indicate that the progression of renal disease is faster in males than females. These observations are corroborated by a sexual dimorphism observed in the polygenetic MWF (Munich Wistar Frömter) rat model. The age-dependent spontaneous progression of increased UAE (urinary albumin excretion) in male MWF rats is influenced by multiple QTLs (quantitative trait loci). In contrast, female MWF rats only develop a slight increase in UAE, while the role of genetic factors for this phenotype is unknown. In the present study, we show that, compared with resistant SHRs (spontaneously hypertensive rats), both male and female MWF rats develop a significant increase in UAE at 24 weeks of age (P<0.0001), although blood pressures were lower compared with SHRs (P<0.0001). UAE was significantly higher in male (7-fold) compared with female MWF rats (162.6±15.9 compared with 24.0±5.5 mg/24 h respectively; P<0.0001), and only male MWF rats developed significant glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial damage in the kidney (P<0.0001). To test the role of genetic factors in the development of low grade albuminuria in female MWF rats, we analysed the role of a major UAE QTL on rat chromosome 6. To this end, we analysed a consomic MWF-6SHR strain in which chromosome 6 from SHRs was introgressed into the MWF rat background. Time course analysis of UAE in females indicated that the small increase in UAE in MWF rats was fully suppressed by exchange of rat chromosome 6. Thus, taken together with previous studies in males, we show that RNO6 protects against the increase in albuminuria with age in both female and male MWF rats.

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