Identification of Stim1 as a candidate gene for exaggerated sympathetic response to stress in the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat


  • M.Z. Ferdaus
  • B. Xiao
  • H. Ohara
  • K. Nemoto
  • Y. Harada
  • K. Saar
  • N. Hübner
  • M. Isomura
  • T. Nabika


  • PLoS ONE


  • PLoS ONE 9 (4): e95091


  • The stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHRSP) is known to have exaggerated sympathetic nerve activity to various types of stress, which might contribute to the pathogenesis of severe hypertension and stroke observed in this strain. Previously, by using a congenic strain (called SPwch1.72) constructed between SHRSP and the normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rat (WKY), we showed that a 1.8-Mbp fragment on chromosome 1 (Chr1) of SHRSP harbored the responsible gene(s) for the exaggerated sympathetic response to stress. To further narrow down the candidate region, in this study, another congenic strain (SPwch1.71) harboring a smaller fragment on Chr1 including two functional candidate genes, Phox2a and Ship2, was generated. Sympathetic response to cold and restraint stress was compared among SHRSP, SPwch1.71, SPwch1.72 and WKY by three different methods (urinary norepinephrine excretion, blood pressure measurement by the telemetry system and the power spectral analysis on heart rate variability). The results indicated that the response in SPwch1.71 did not significantly differ from that in SHRSP, excluding Phox2a and Ship2 from the candidate genes. As the stress response in SPwch1.72 was significantly less than that in SHRSP, it was concluded that the 1.2-Mbp congenic region covered by SPwch1.72 (and not by SPwch1.71) was responsible for the sympathetic stress response. The sequence analysis of 12 potential candidate genes in this region in WKY/Izm and SHRSP/Izm identified a nonsense mutation in the stromal interaction molecule 1 (Stim1) gene of SHRSP/Izm which was shared among 4 substrains of SHRSP. A western blot analysis confirmed a truncated form of STIM1 in SHRSP/Izm. In addition, the analysis revealed that the protein level of STIM1 in the brainstem of SHRSP/Izm was significantly lower when compared with WKY/Izm. Our results suggested that Stim1 is a strong candidate gene responsible for the exaggerated sympathetic response to stress in SHRSP.