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The transcriptome of the medullary area postrema: The thirsty rat, the hungry rat and the hypertensive rat

ABSTRACT: The area postrema (AP) is a sensory circumventricular organ characterised by extensive fenestrated vasculature and neurons which are capable of detecting circulating signals of osmotic, cardiovascular, immune and metabolic status. The AP can communicate these messages via efferent projections to brainstem and hypothalamic structures that are able to orchestrate an appropriate response. We have used microarrays to profile the transcriptome of the AP in the Sprague Dawley (SD) and Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rat and present here a comprehensive catalogue of gene expression, focussing specifically on the population of ion channels, receptors and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) expressed in this sensory tissue; of the GPCRs expressed in the rat AP we identified ~36% that are orphans having no established ligand. We have also looked at the ways in which the AP transcriptome responds to the physiological stressors of 72-hours dehydration (DSD) and 48-hours fasting (FSD) and have performed microarrays under these conditions. Comparison between the DSD and SD or between FSD and SD revealed only a modest number of AP genes that are regulated by these homeostatic challenges. The expression levels of a much larger number of genes are altered in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) AP compared to the normotensive WKY controls however. Finally, analysis of these ‘hypertension-related’ elements revealed genes that are involved in both the regulation of blood pressure and immune function and as such are excellent targets for further study. Overall design: Using Affymetrix microarrays (Rat 230:2.0) we anaysed the transcriptome of the area postrema. Each microarray in the study represents an independent biological replicate of 5 animals.

INSTRUMENT(S): [Rat230_2] Affymetrix Rat Genome 230 2.0 Array

ORGANISM(S): Rattus norvegicus  





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