Genetic contamination of Dahl SS/Jr rats. Impact on studies of salt-sensitive hypertension.
The Dahl salt-sensitive rat (SS/Jr) is a widely used animal model of salt-sensitive hypertension. SS/Jr rats are believed to be highly inbred and uniformly sensitive to the hypertensinogenic effects of sodium chloride, but we have recently observed that SS/Jr rats from Harlan Sprague Dawley, Inc, exhibit considerable variability in their blood pressure response to supplemental dietary salt. To test the possibility that commercially available SS/Jr rats are genetically contaminated and therefore no longer fully inbred, we performed molecular genetic studies and blood pressure measurements in several groups of SS/Jr rats purchased from Harlan Sprague Dawley. We found molecular evidence of heterozygosity and/or atypical allelic variants involving loci on at least five different chromosomes. Many of the rats also failed to exhibit a salt-sensitive blood pressure phenotype. We conclude that SS/Jr rats being sold by the only commercial vendor of Dahl rats in the United States are genetically contaminated and resistant to the hypertensinogenic effects of salt. These findings raise serious questions about the interpretation of research conducted with SS/Jr rats obtained from Harlan Sprague Dawley.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association