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American Physiological Society

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Physiological Genomics

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Coarctation of the aorta (CoA) is a common congenital cardiovascular (CV) defect characterized by a stenosis of the descending thoracic aorta. Treatment exists, but many patients develop hypertension (HTN). Identifying the cause of HTN is challenging because of patient variability (e.g., age, follow-up duration, severity) and concurrent CV abnormalities. Our objective was to conduct RNA sequencing of aortic tissue from humans with CoA to identify a candidate gene for mechanistic studies of arterial dysfunction in a rabbit model of CoA devoid of the variability seen with humans. We present the first known evidence of natriuretic peptide receptor C (NPR-C; aka NPR3) downregulation in human aortic sections subjected to high blood pressure (BP) from CoA versus normal BP regions (validated to PCR). These changes in NPR-C, a gene associated with BP and proliferation, were replicated in the rabbit model of CoA. Artery segments from this model were used with human aortic endothelial cells to reveal the functional relevance of altered NPR-C activity. Results showed decreased intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) activity to C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP). Normal relaxation induced by CNP and atrial natriuretic peptide was impaired for aortic segments exposed to elevated BP from CoA. Inhibition of NPR-C (M372049) also impaired aortic relaxation and [Ca2+]i activity. Genotyping of NPR-Cvariants predicted to be damaging revealed that rs146301345 was enriched in our CoA patients, but sample size limited association with HTN. These results may ultimately be used to tailor treatment for CoA based on mechanical stimuli, genotyping, and/or changes in arterial function.


Accepted version. Physiological Genomics, Vol. 51, No. 6 (June 2019) : 177-185. DOI. © 2019 American Physiological Society. Used with permission.

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