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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 410480, 9 pages
Research Article

Primary Genetic Investigation of a Hyperlipidemia Model: Molecular Characteristics and Variants of the Apolipoprotein E Gene in Mongolian Gerbil

1College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
2Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences, Hangzhou 310013, China

Received 22 January 2014; Revised 6 May 2014; Accepted 8 May 2014; Published 1 June 2014

Academic Editor: Qinghua Nie

Copyright © 2014 Yuehuan Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The objective of this work was to establish a novel Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) hyperlipidemia model and to investigate its susceptibility genetic basis. Two rodent (gerbil and rat) hyperlipidemia models were induced by feeding a high fat/high-cholesterol (HF/HC) diet. There were significant increases of serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in gerbils within a 4-week modeling period. About 10–30% of >8-month-old individuals developed hyperlipidemia spontaneously. The apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene was cloned by merging a sequence of rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and nested polymerase chain reaction products. The results revealed an open reading frame of 948 bp, encoding a protein of 298 amino acids. The gene without a 5′-UTR region in the first intron was highly homologous to human Apo-A-I and rat Apo-A-IV. The distribution of expression of the ApoE gene in liver, brain, heart, lung, kidney, and adrenal gland was detected by an ABC immunohistochemical procedure. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; C97T, G781T, and A1774T) were first found using PCR-single-strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) in a closed population containing 444 animals. Correlation analysis confirmed that new SNPs , age, and gender were associated significantly () with hyperlipidemia.