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    Cold temperatures are associated with increased prevalence of hypertension. Cold exposure increases endothelin-1 (ET1) production. The purpose of this study is to determine whether upregulation of ET1 contributes to cold-induced hypertension (CIH). In vivo RNAi silencing of the ET1 gene was achieved by adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2) delivery of ET1 short-hairpin small interfering RNA (ET1-shRNA). Four groups of male rats were used. Three groups were given AAV.ET1-shRNA, AAV.SC-shRNA (scrambled shRNA), and phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), respectively, before exposure to a moderately cold environment (6.7 ± 2°C), while the last group was given PBS and kept at room temperature (warm, 24 ± 2°C) and served as a control. We found that systolic blood pressure of the PBS-treated and SC-shRNA-treated groups increased significantly within 2 weeks of exposure to cold, reached a peak level (145 ± 4.8 mmHg) by 6 weeks, and remained elevated thereafter. By contrast, blood pressure of the ET1-shRNA-treated group did not increase, suggesting that silencing of ET1 prevented the development of CIH. Animals were euthanized after 10 weeks of exposure to cold. Cold exposure significantly increased the left ventricle (LV) surface area and LV weight in cold-exposed rats, suggesting LV hypertrophy. Superoxide production in the heart was increased by cold exposure. Interestingly, ET1-shRNA prevented cold-induced superoxide production and cardiac hypertrophy. ELISA assay indicated that ET1-shRNA abolished the cold-induced upregulation of ET1 levels, indicating effective silencing of ET1. In conclusion, upregulation of ET1 plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of CIH and cardiac hypertrophy. AAV delivery of ET1-shRNA is an effective therapeutic strategy for cold-related cardiovascular disease.


    Peter Gin-Fu Chen, Zhongjie Sun. AAV Delivery of Endothelin-1 shRNA Attenuates Cold-Induced Hypertension. Human gene therapy. 2017 Feb;28(2):190-199

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    PMID: 27736201

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