Genetic factors confer risk for cardiovascular disease. Recently, large genome-wide population studies have shown associations between genomic loci close to LRIG3 and heart failure and plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level. Here, we ablated Lrig3 in mice and investigated the importance of Lrig3 for heart function and plasma lipid levels. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to analyze Lrig3 expression in the hearts of wild-type and Lrig3-deficient mice. In addition, molecular, physiological, and functional parameters such as organ weights, heart rate, blood pressure, heart structure and function, gene expression in the heart, and plasma insulin, glucose and lipid levels were evaluated. The Lrig3-deficient mice were smaller than the wild-type mice but otherwise appeared grossly normal. Lrig3 was expressed at detectable but relatively low levels in adult mouse hearts. At nine months of age, ad libitum fed Lrig3-deficient mice had lower insulin levels than wild-type mice. At 12 months of age, Lrig3-deficient mice exhibited increased blood pressure, and the Lrig3-deficient female mice displayed signs of cardiac hypertrophy as assessed by echocardiography, heart-to-body-weight ratio, and expression of the cardiac hypertrophy marker gene Nppa. Additionally, Lrig3-deficient mice had reduced plasma HDL-cholesterol and free glycerol. These findings in mice complement the human epidemiological results and suggest that Lrig3 may influence heart function and plasma lipid levels in mice and humans.
- Copyright © 2015, American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology