Connective Tissue Growth Factor Transgenic Mouse Develops Cardiac Hypertrophy, Lean Body Mass and Alopecia GC01-GC05
Dr. Edem Nuglozeh,
Department of Biochemistry, University of Hail, P.O. Box 2400, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Introduction: Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF/CCN2) is one of the six members of cysteine-rich, heparin-binding proteins, secreted as modular protein and recognised to play a major function in cell processes such as adhesion, migration, proliferation and differentiation as well as chondrogenesis, skeletogenesis, angiogenesis and wound healing. The capacity of CTGF to interact with different growth factors lends an important role during early and late development, especially in the anterior region of the embryo. CTGF Knockout (KO) mice have several craniofacial defects and bone miss shaped due to an impairment of the vascular system development during chondrogenesis.
Aim: The aim of the study was to establish an association between multiple modular functions of CTGF and the phenotype and cardiovascular functions in transgenic mouse.
Materials and Methods: Bicistronic cassette was constructed using pIRES expressing vector (Clontech, Palo Alto, CA). The construct harbours mouse cDNA in tandem with LacZ cDNA as a reporter gene under the control of Cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. The plasmid was linearised with NotI restriction enzyme, and 50 ng of linearised plasmid was injected into mouse pronucleus for the chimaera production. Immunohistochemical methods were used to assess the colocalisation renin and CTGF as well as morphology and rheology of the cardiovascular system.
Results: The chimeric mice were backcrossed against the wild-type C57BL/6 to generate hemizygous (F1) mouse. Most of the offsprings died as a result of respiratory distress and those that survived have low CTGF gene copy number, approximately 40 molecules per mouse genome. The copy number assessment on the dead pups showed 5×103 molecules per mouse genome explaining the threshold of the gene in terms of toxicity. Interestingly, the result of this cross showed 85% of the progenies to be positive deviating from Mendelian first law. All F2 progenies died excluding the possibility of establishing the CTGF transgenic mouse line, situation that compelled us to work at the level of hemizygosity. The histological characterisation of left ventricle shows cardiac hypertrophy together with decrease in body mass and alopecia, this compared to the wild type. The immunohistochemical staining of aorta root showed hyperplasia with increased expression and colocalisation of renin and CTGF demonstrating that CTGF may be involved in vascular tone control.
Conclusion: Genetic engineering is a noble avenue to investigate the function of new or existing genes. Our data have shown that CTGF transgenic mouse has cardiac and aorta root hypertrophy and abnormal renin accumulation in aorta root as compared to the wild-type animals. The transgenic animals developed alopecia and lean body mass adding two new functions on pre-existing CTGF multiple functions.