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To define renal molecular mechanisms that are affected by permanent hyperglycaemia and might promote phenotypes relevant to diabetic nephropathy, we carried out linkage analysis of genome-wide gene transcription in the kidneys of F2 offspring from the Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rat model of type 2 diabetes and normoglycaemic Brown Norway (BN) rats. We mapped 2526 statistically significant expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) in the cross. More than 40% of eQTLs mapped in the close vicinity of the linked transcripts, underlying possible cis-regulatory mechanisms of gene expression. We identified eQTL hotspots on chromosomes 5 and 9 regulating the expression of 80-165 genes, sex or cross direction effects, and enriched metabolic and immunological processes by segregating GK alleles. Comparative analysis with adipose tissue eQTLs in the same cross showed that 496 eQTLs, in addition to the top enriched biological pathways, are conserved in the two tissues. Extensive similarities in eQTLs mapped in the GK rat and in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) suggest a common aetiology of disease phenotypes common to the two strains, including insulin resistance, which is a prominent pathophysiological feature in both GK rats and SHRs. Our data shed light on shared and tissue-specific molecular mechanisms that might underlie aetiological aspects of insulin resistance in the context of spontaneously occurring hyperglycaemia and hypertension.

Original publication




Journal article


Disease models & mechanisms

Publication Date





Genetics and Genomic Medicine, University College London Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, United Kingdom.