Genetic mutation of recombination activating gene 1 in Dahl salt-sensitive rats attenuates hypertension and renal damage

David L. Mattson, Hayley Lund, Chuanling Guo, Nathan Rudemiller, Aron M. Geurts, Howard Jacob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

97 Scopus citations


Hypertension and renal damage in Dahl SS rats are associated with increased infiltrating immune cells in the kidney. To examine the role of infiltrating immune cells in this disease process, a zinc finger nuclease targeting bases 672-706 of recombination-activating gene 1 (Rag1) was injected into the pronucleus of Dahl SS (SS/JrHsdMcwi) strain embryos and implanted in pseudopregnant females. This strategy yielded a rat strain with a 13-base frame-shift mutation in the target region of Rag1 and a deletion of immunoreactive Rag1 protein in the thymus. Flow cytometry demonstrated that the Rag1-null mutant rats have a significant reduction in T and B lymphocytes in the circulation and spleen. Studies were performed on SS and Rag1-null rats fed a 4.0% NaCl diet for 3 wk. The infiltration of T cells into the kidney following high-salt intake was significantly blunted in the Rag1-null rats (1.7 ± 0.6 105 cells/kidney) compared with the Dahl SS (5.6 ± 0.9 105 cells/kidney). Accompanying the reduction in infiltration of immune cells in the kidney, mean arterial blood pressure and urinary albumin excretion rate were significantly lower in Rag1- null mutants (158 ± 3 mmHg and 60 ± 16 mg/day, respectively) than in SS rats (180 ± 11 mmHg and 251 ± 37 mg/day). Finally, a histological analysis revealed that the glomerular and tubular damage in the kidneys of the SS rats fed a high-salt diet was also attenuated in the Rag1 mutants. These studies demonstrate the importance of renal infiltration of immune cells in the pathogenesis of hypertension and renal damage in Dahl SS rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R407-R414
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 7 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Albuminuria
  • B lymphocytes
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney disease
  • Recombination activating gene
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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